I had dinner with a friend last night, and we were talking about how it’s not always easy to be disciplined in our meditation practice, thus the concept of discipline. She said something that really clicked. She said, “I just physically walk myself over to my meditation spot, and make myself sit down.” Genius. Whether or not you have a regular asana (yoga pose) and meditation practice, you know that even if you don’t feel like it, you always feel better after you’ve done it. It’s true. I’ve never felt worse after I’ve pushed myself to flow through my practice or meditate. Sure, I might have a cleansing cry or a flood of thoughts bombard my mind, but that’s the point of meditating — sitting still long enough for the purification to happen. Continue reading
In the first two posts of this series, I talked about the yamas or “laws of life” and the niyamas or “rules for living,” so now we come to pranayama and meditation, both of which flow through and are essential for the previous two limbs. When I was going through teacher training and we learned about each yama and niyama, I started to feel anxious thinking about all of the work I had to do to change myself. I had this mental checklist running through my head. As I began to examine the deeper meanings behind the yamas, such as violence which can be as subtle as thinking a harsh thought towards someone who is making your life difficult at work, I really started to panic.
When you really dissect all of the subtle ways we can be “in violation” of these universal moralities and personal observances, it can quickly become a challenge to stay present and not judge yourself. So, I read more and listened more and started to see that simply ‘noticing’ when I’m in a situation in which I have an opportunity to practice non-violence or moderation, my actions naturally began to shift. Add pranayama and meditation to the mix, and these qualities of living a yogic life begin to arise unconsciously; they become part of your DNA.
Imagine for a moment that you could do absolutely nothing and it would bring you peace. Now, stop imagining and realize it’s already within you. Deep silence and spaciousness reside within you. With that silence, comes stillness, and with stillness comes peace.
Patanjali says, “Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence.” But, yoga goes beyond the poses we flow through – sometimes disconnectedly – on our mat. When we are present in our physical practice, the mind begins to quiet. An inner stillness endeavors to take over. Don’t stop it.
There’s a beautiful quote by Eckhart Tolle that I try to remember when I feel myself becoming frantic and frantically living in the mind, “When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world.”
But, we can live that presence and find that stillness beyond the mat. Begin to regularly bring awareness to the silence between – the silence between yoga postures, between words in a conversation, between music notes, between raindrops, between breaths. Notice a wave of calm, if even for a brief moment, that comes over you when you experience the silence between. This is stillness coming into being.
When you witness the silence between, you witness the stillness within.
- Your Charmed Yogi