Recently, I’ve been reminded that though we say I “do yoga” it is ultimately a practice. Early on doing yoga I asked my first teacher Chad Hamrin “I find peace here when I do yoga but my life is a mess. What should I do?” He replied, “Don’t do anything, do yoga.” I thought at the time he meant do more asana and it only after many years of doing just that I got centered enough to understand. Practicing yoga is practicing the presence . The only place you can feel love is in the present. That’s why they say,”The present is a gift.” But a gift we must be ready to receive otherwise it’s unappreciated. Until the deeper calling comes and we can hear the voice of the divine whisper and caress us we can just take a breather or as they say, “Give yourself a break.”When I came to yoga I was already quite flexible and in fact could put my leg behind my head but found standing on my own two feet difficult. Now, as a person I am prone to a certain effusive enthusiasm, I can get caught up and swept away in the rapture or just plain too busy to know which way is up a bit crazy. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait in Living Tantra (www.himalayaninstitute.org) said that while in India there is a great respect for Crazy Yogis, we cannot allow ourselves that luxury in Tantra. We are here to share the gift that we are given, to cultivate the seed of intention planted and to realize our heart’s desire, which I believe is ‘love and be love’. We must reach a certain level of consciousness before we find the unity of purpose where our desire and our dharma are aligned. Rod Stryker speaks far more eloquently that I in his book The Four Desires of practices to bring us to the point of not just understanding but living our yoga but until you read it… and do it. We can begin by a practice of just being present .
Find yourself a comfortable position, sitting or even lying down is okay watch the breath. Repeat.… I breathe in… breathe out… breathe in… breathe out Not an attempt to deepen the breath, just observe. The ancient yogis heard the mantra “So Hum” as the breath. If you wish, you can use this mantra. Breathe in “So” . Breathe out “Hum”. Or you can repeat … Breathe in “I” . Breathe out “Am”. Those who have been doing yoga for a while will be familiar with breath awareness practice.
The question I ask and I remember to ask myself is “How often do you do it?” Where there’s breath there’s life. Why not live right now, where you are. “Now” is a gift , that’s why we call it the present.