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Yoga: A Pathway Back to Life after Loss

Tradition tells us that around 400 CE, a Sage by the name of Patanjali comprised the classic text known today as the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. It’s comprised of 196 aphorisms in Sanskrit literature which have given rise to the practice of Yoga as we know it today. Very similar to the 613 Commandments in Western tradition, it is said, that if you master one, the rest are accounted for. Yoga is a path to self-realization; truth, if you will, of who we really are aside from the figure we experience in a mirror. Finding truth and facing truth are two quite different experiences. It’s been said that Truth is facing ‘what is’ and finding the ‘value’ in ‘what is’, as everything we experience has value. The task: finding the value in the moment regardless of what we are experiencing. It’s an educative and an artful process of discernment to accept.

Loss of any kind is a profoundly singular experience. Reactions may vary from shock to denial, anger, fear and a potpourri of emotions too extensive to detail. How does one stay steady in the midst of chaos? The Yogic path is not a simple one, as anything else of value one tries to pursue in this life. It’s an Eight Fold path to truth. A path so rich in not only physical representations but rich in a philosophy on how to live a joyful life. Whether one studies these ancient pathways to healing, from the East, West, North or South, all roads will lead to Rome. Their doctrine: there is no past, as it’s dead, buried and gone; there is no future as it’s a story written within the confines of one’s own mind of things that don’t even exist. So what we are left with is the lifelong question of how one is to accept the absolute instant of the moment, surrendering to it and living it well. That is the healing power of yoga.

The Yogic practice is anchoring oneself into the moment to moment movement of the breath (Prana) and body (Asana) which becomes a transition of moment to moment breath to movement, leading the student to begin a process of surrendering to that moment in a timeless space. It’s the creation of space in one’s mind and body so that the energetic life force can flow freely allowing one to actually breath. It’s analogous to life, with all of its bliss and challenges we are gifted with. Sometimes the practice takes courage, commitment and desire, but as it is said in Sanskrit its ‘Pada, Pada’, ‘step by step’. It’s a kind and gentle practice which teaches us how to embrace ourselves and in essence embrace life. The only place one can actually find peace of mind is in the present moment. The teachings are a journey to non-attachment.

It was the Buddha who said life is Dukkha; translated as suffering. The cause is said to be attachment, it’s the first of the Four Noble Truths. Attachment to anything in life is superfluous, as there is nothing in this life that has any permanency; except impermanency. Its constant change and one’s ability to adapt to that change. That too is Yoga. There is an old Sufi saying, ‘die many times before you die’. It’s like peeling away layers of an onion. In Yogic terms; The Koshas. The layers of the densest physical body to the most subtle body we inhabit until we find the light within. The light of love and peace that resides within us all. Yoga is a pathway to the light. Freedom. Maybe you’d like to explore a touch of a Yogic Journey right now by asking yourself: Have I ever explored the inner world of the mind that is really me? Have I ever seen a Peppermint Sea Star, or the Milky Way Galaxy or the Night Sky with a full Blue Moon? It’s not too late! All the truth and the beauty of the Sea Star, Milky Way and Midnight sky awaits you. Remember, you are not alone. Life is tough, so gift yourselves. Take a Yoga journey inward and experiment to find the Festival of Light somewhere inside of you. Remember too, the darkest sky gives birth to the brightest stars: you.

© 2019 Author of ‘The Little Black Book of Suicide Notes’ and CertifiedYoga Teacher ~Special thanks to Lili Avery of Coba Yoga for her soulful passion and distinct love of the human spirit~ Coba Yoga, 115 Oceanport Avenue, Little Silver NJ.

This article appears in the May 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine Monmouth Ocean edition. Click here to subscribe, thanks :)

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