11 Sep

Think about that word for a while. It has so many different meanings. In relation to yoga, there are so many mis-conceptions. So many fears, so many aversions. I often see myself reflected in the eyes of my non-yoga friends as a mad-woman as I try to explain what spirituality is, and how doing a yoga postures could possibly be spiritual.

In Stephen Levine’s “A Gradual Awakening”, he writes:

There is a difference between wisdom and knowledge. We experience a moment of understanding and say, “Ah, that’s how it is!” Then think “Now, how did that happen?” and perhaps later try to explain to to thers how it was. The experience of understanding is wisdom, but trying to capture that understanding, to convey it in words, is knowledge.

This is what it’s like, trying to explain to non yogi’s how yoga is spiritual. The wise-mind that develops through consistent yoga practice doesn’t necessarily come with increased vocabulary! Spirit doesn’t always show up in language.

Today during practice, I felt a lot of tightness – a reaction to a previous yoga class. I didn’t notice the pain I was in as I held warrior B today. Not because I wasn’t aware, but because I was so enjoying the breath and the feeling of being alive, that I was completely at peace with the pain and burn I felt growing in my quads and hips. That feeling of equanimity, of effort and surrender, that’s a huge part of the spirituality of yoga. Riding the breath through the body like a wave. That’s spiritual in a way that can’t be explained to somebody who has never seen past the mind and taken a real, honest, deep breath. Sometimes that is the only real connection to spirit I’ve ever felt that was real and not an invention of my own mind. The body is such a great metaphor to work with on a daily basis, it teaches us everything through the tiny cosmos of our own natural existence.

2 Responses to “Spiritual”

  1. seangreenfrog September 13, 2008 at 3:17 am #

    In recognition of 9/11 and wanting to make some expression for peace, last night I practiced with a group of friends in a Denver city park where there’s a Greek-styled collonnaded pavillion. We started in extravagant yoga style with incense and rose petals and kirtan. As it got dark, a rain storm emerged, and with the wind pressing the rain under the pavillion, we got cold. Still, the entire experience was spiritual in a really fundamental way — like everything from the wind and rain to the beings present to the vibrations of sounds — was built on, or (maybe better) formed out of the basic, underlying oneness of all.

  2. barefootbhakti September 13, 2008 at 3:37 am #

    Oh – that sounds beautiful. How blessed to have a group of yoga friends interested in dedication of 9/11 and practicing together rain or shine.

    I love those moments of oneness. The ducks and geese are flying south over my town right now and I was struck in awe this morning at their awkward and beautiful flight. When I really pay attention to what happens around me, I feel that connection of one-ness. I don’t think I would have really noticed the geese before, let alone felt like a part of the flight.

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