Friday was the last day of this summer’s 200 hr YTT, and what a day! A wonderful talk about the Kleshas (veils), Karma (action) and Samskara (imprints), a tasty shared lunch at Darbar (yum) and the graduation ceremony – so lovely <3
At lunch, a fun and interesting thing happened. One of the participants made a list of “Mona’isms”. Those of you who know me, know what this is all about. As I read the list I was shocked, pleasantly surprised and happy (someone listened!).
The Mona’isms that inspires this month’s newsletter is the following (yes, it’s ironic to be quoting myself):
“Elongation is away to create space in the body.
Meditation is a way to create space in the mind.
Where there is space, there is opportunity and potential.”
In my experience, one of the biggest and most fruitful benefits of Yoga practice is the creation of space in our lives and being.
We use asana (posture) practice to create space in the physical body through movement and principles such as elongation – moving the crown of the head away from the tailbone. Elongation uses muscle energy to create physical space in the body – such as space between the individual vertebrae. Where there is physical space there is no compression, which allows spinal disks, nerves, the vascular system, and organs to function more effectively.
We also use pranayama (expansion of vital life force, or breathing) to create space. The refinement of breathing creates space in the thorax which enables more oxygen molecules to get to the alveoli (oxygen for carbon dioxide exchange sacs in the lungs) and into the blood stream to nourish all our organs, tissues and cells. As our organs, tissues and cells are well nourished and function optimally we have more vitality and energy for living the life we want to live.
Through the practices of yama (restraints), niyama (observances), pratyahara (inward focus), dharana (sustained focus), and dhyana (meditation) we begin to create space for our feelings, emotions and thoughts. My meditation teacher Larry often talks of the bhardo. It’s a word that translates to “gap”, or the space between things. A meditation practice allows us to begin to see our thoughts and choices, helps us to eventually see the spaces between the thoughts – clearing the mind of unnecessary thought debris. The container of meditation practice also allows us the space to be with, to observe and get to know our feelings and emotions… all of which are indicators, pointers, to connect us with our deeper soul Self, our authentic Self.
I have found that these wonderful Yoga practices have set the foundation for me to create space in my life. If I am unable to apply the Yoga in “real life”, then it’s not as useful to me. I endeavor to use Yoga as a way to become more skillful in life, so I can be the best me possible – as a wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and teacher.
When things in my life do not go as planned or preferred, I am now able to create space using conscious breathing, and landing in the bhardos between my thoughts and feelings. In that space I create I am able to see more than my preferences, wants or needs… I am able to zoom out and see the bigger picture – the opportunity and potential of the situation beyond myself. It’s an amazing gift! I’m not saying I can do this all the time, yet as I continue to practice, it becomes easier and more fluid 🙂
And so I invite you to consider how you create space in your life… then what do you choose to fill it with? That’s the most magical part of learning the skill, once you’ve created space for yourself YOU get to chose what you want to fill it with – the opportunity and potential to live the life you dream of living.
Om Shantih and Prema (universal peace & love),
Mona L. Warner, ERYT500 & RYS500