Yoga is life. It is everything. It is the way the branches of each tree converge and make entirely unique patterns in each tree. It is within the mystery of life unfolding and it is the mystery itself. It is the gut “knowing” we all have from deep within and it is within the surrendered not knowing.
After two teacher training programs and much in depth study, Yoga now forms the root of my being. It creates the foundation of the way I receive the moment, the way I process information, the way I experience life.
When I say “yoga”, I don’t mean bendy, physical exercises. Those are only a small part of a broad life science. Ultimately, Yoga is about merging back with the One source of pure consciousness, dissolving our identification with our ego, with feeling separate. Yoga is built upon the practice of humility, letting go and surrender. Being in a state of acceptant, non-resistance to what is, versus pushing at or pulling at life, is central to being a practicing yogi. When we allow ourselves to release and accept, we return to flow with a force much greater than our individual will. We begin to live in rhythm with the infinite, as a witness to the finite, rather than bound by the finite, wondering if the infinite exists. Acceptance is not about being a victim to any given situation, but about tapping into the infinite power of this moment by opening to what is.
In my current practice, Yoga is about witnessing and cultivating a balanced state of being in each moment, softening to a rooted and surrendered state that is part of a much bigger flow. In that state, the notion of separation begins to release and I find a unity with a immensity beyond the sense of “me”.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika speaks of the need for yogis to cultivate “sukha and stira”, a balanced state of being neither too relaxed nor too alert. I tuck that away in the back of my mind and let it be the backdrop of my day, a sort of canvas upon which the events of the day can be painted. I refer to this throughout the day, and inquire into how I am interacting with my environment, with others and with myself. I find this very useful to keep the notion of Yoga alive in each moment throughout the day. Ultimately, what else is there? Are we not all ultimately merging back to the One, each one of us more receptive to such in our own way?
When we take the notion of “sukha and stira” and apply it to our way of thinking (not just to the way we move or breathe as we would in a Hatha Yoga practice), we learn to be alert and receptive in each moment, finding a balance between being relaxed and focus, neither stressed nor spaced out. I find that very useful in the pace of today’s world. Our mind broadens and becomes more perceptive and able to receive information and possibilities.
Each moment is full of information, which we can receive by softening or reject by reacting to it and shutting down. My breath is my best friend. By being aware of how I am breathing, I can see immediately how I am thinking. Throughout the day, I ask myself: “Am I holding my breath? Is my breath flowing? Do I feel the interconnection through the breath between the world beyond my skin and the world behind my skin?” Yoga is the way in which I choose to practice walking on the Earth, neither stepping sheepishly nor too aggressively. Yoga is the way I choose to practice balance in relationship, open to a co-creative, fluid, win-win experience that resonates inwardly and feels harmonious outwardly.
As you move through this day, see how you can practice acceptant, non-resistance to what is. You just may find life flowers into full technicolour with very little effort. Enjoy!
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. In addition to being an internationally acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, producer and performer, she is a yoga teacher and holistic educator, having studied yoga and meditation since 1987, and developed her own yoga teaching style called YEM™: Yoga as Energy Medicine. Her current shows, “YIN: Yoga in the Nightclub” and “Natamba”, bring forward a conscious energy into the pop mainstream.