What I want to share today is a realization that I had while on retreat with a friend this summer. My realization is about the role that connection plays in the practice of yoga. I think I’ve always felt this, yet finally I am able to verbalize another piece, another aspect, to this profound and powerful practice.
Yoga is a science that is about “self-realization”. This means that the techniques of yoga, when properly applied are designed to give the practitioner an opportunity to learn more about themselves.
The tools do this by connecting the practitioner to a variety of layers of being: the body, the breath, the prana (vital life energy), the emotions, the mind, our patterns and habits, our personality, as well as our Spirit. As we develop a deeper awareness of our multi-dimensionality, we are then invited to understand how to be responsible for ourselves on deeper levels: maybe this is being responsible for keeping the body healthy, for managing our energy through boundary work, for expressing emotions is appropriate ways, for managing the mind so it doesn’t take us to harmful places, for aligning with Spirit so we live purposeful lives… The themes stay the same, and yet the work of the practice is very individual.
As we work through and integrate (another word that infers connection) these aspects of our selves, we becomes more and more whole, complete, and self-realized.
Connection also shows up in the practice when we work with a teacher. The student-teacher relationship is all about connection, mirroring, and deepening. I also see a connection to community – being part of a group of like minded, like hearted folks allows us to grow in different ways; being able to share, contribute, and support.
I invite you to go into your practice this week asking yourself the question – When I practice, what is it I am connecting to? – and notice what arises for you. I would love to know, so please post in the comments below.