My Teacher look directly into my eyes and said..."Why do you come to Yoga".
Updated: Sep 5, 2021
Wow...nearly 25 years have passed since this day, and if I pose this question to myself now, my answer will still begin here.
I had no formal yoga studies behind me then…however I had monthly consultations with my yoga teacher who directed my personal practice and I attended, when I could, casual classes on Patanjali Yoga Sutra.
It was during one of these classes where I unexpectantly met my...
'Why of Yoga’
On this day there were the usual group of 5 regular students. As we all settled into the magical silence the room offered, and our teacher sat gently down, the familiar feeling of intrigue visited me as I pondered on what might be shared today…I had received so many light bulb moments during these classes...you know the ones where you think, OMG…how could I have not known this. The wisdom offered within the Sutra-s, was helping me to make sense of my life.
It is interesting how a space of shared silence can be many things...and this can present anywhere on a scale from terrifyingly uncomfortable, to...extraordinary.
I am unsure of where I sat within this scale on that day, however the moment our teacher presented us all with the very direct question of,
'Why do you come to yoga?'
The silence within the room became a concoction of all the above.
With the gaze of my Teacher directly upon me there was no time for thought, and I was very thankful that the answer to this question, I had already felt and experienced.
"I feel a nicer person...I feel I am kinder towards myself" I replied.
My words were very clear and simple...somehow my personal yoga practice, and the understandings gained from Sutra classes, had become my vehicle for change.
A change that expressed itself in moments of feeling inwardly quieter, and this quiet space offered me something other. A new perspective…a sense of kindness towards myself. It was from here, this gentle space, that I began to witness my own internal noise.
The noise was a voice of non-gentleness…it was harsh, condemning and oh so judgemental. It consisted of layers of thoughts…self-doubt, self-judgement, non-acceptance, blame, regret, fear, and more fear.…oh yeah, they were, and are all there. In short, I was witnessing, the actual of:
‘What I thought of myself’.
It was interesting that I had not met this voice earlier…I am not saying I had no recognition of these thoughts, I just never question them. Things were changing for me, and I was now able to, without adding more self judgement, reflect on past life experiences.
Self-kindness nurtured acceptance and forgiveness and I came to understand why such thoughts were birthed. I could see the bounding effect that they had on me, and I was also beginning to experience a sense of freedom from understanding them.
I am 59 now…many years have passed. Are these thoughts still present?…oh yeah, they still visit…life happens, challenges arise and before you know it so do the thoughts of doubt, judgement etc. But the major difference is that I am very okay in seeing them. They are no longer hidden and secretly controlling my world from the inside. I can meet them as they arise…and the space here is gentle.
It is without a doubt that the practice of yoga has transformed my world…
It is a path, and for me this path is one of truly getting to ‘know thyself’.
So yes, as it was for my much younger self it remains the same, nurturing the ground of inner kindness is my 'why of yoga' and 'my starting point of practice'…and I have come to understand that it must be. As it is only from this loving space that I can truthfully view my inner and outer world…that I can be open to learn, grow and change...
And that I can allow the All that yoga has to offer to gently unfold from within.
For all those who share a light for me to See...
I am forever grateful.