So in my line of living, the beginning of the year becomes a time to hunker down and get into the mode of acceptance from within rather than analyzing all the lacks. I must say, right off the bat that the statement is a lot easier to write on the page than it is to put into practice. I have noticed within myself, and oftentimes with all of my Integrative Yoga Therapy customers, and even just friends and colleagues, a hyper-criticism of self in mind and body that suggests a serious spiritual disconnect.
Why do I (we) have such a strong inclination toward the need to change at this time of year, and, more importantly for me, why is that change in and of itself so inherently connected to a belief that life will be better, grander, fill in your own blank, if it is manifested? I’m honestly not sure because quite clearly that is never the way deep meaningful transformation has worked for me, and I’m not sure that change for change’s sake ever really brought me any of the gifts that I had hoped it would when I thought getting thinner or moving house or having a new boyfriend presented itself as an exciting vehicle for change in my mind.
The yoking of mind body and spirit, and this is the truest expression of yoga for me, always begins and ends with the breath:
“Yoga is also cultivated through the awareness of the breath, especially the spontaneous stillness experienced upon exhalation.” Patanjali, 1.34
My ego releases when I focus on deep diaphragmatic breathing; inhaling from the bottom of the pelvis to the top of the heart and expanding. The exhale takes the breath in the opposite direction and suggests a softening into that initial expanded possibility. And I begin again. Inhale through the nostrils and exhale with a Ha release through the mouth.
When I let go of my mind, and enter into the whispery, effervescent and unfathomable realm of my subtle heart, I awaken from within; my physical body relaxes and I am invited into a relationship with myself where peace is the umpire and a deep and limitless love can be found.
And this is my choice today, and my wish and hope for tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow; that the deep, abiding and blissful Spirit of me will always lead the way, leaning anew toward that fresh and light-filled transcendence.