I left for yoga class this morning in my little black Jetta listening to some classics on the radio. Braving the cold was a big step for me today and when I arrived downtown I drove around for a while until I gave up and returned home. Problem was, I couldn’t find parking. Now, I was definitely disappointed and I’m sure if I was determined I could’ve found some illegal spot and crossed my fingers for a ticket free return to my car. However, something told me there was a lesson in this, so I went home.
Yoga has guided me into a stronger and happier mentality and so even those tough mornings I am motivated to go because I know I’ll feel the relief upon the end of the class. I decided to instead, use my hour to learn more about the practice of yoga. What are some of the traditional philosophies that bring healing? How can I delve deeper into my practice? Here are some insights I found.
We all Suffer
Although social media often tells us otherwise by glossing over our very humanity, we are conditioned to suffer. I’ve had a great deal of personal experience with that as of late which is why I related so much to the writings of Michael Stone in his book “ “.
Duhkha and Samsara
Duhkha is Sanskrit for suffering and it relates to a want for more; a mental construct we build that separates us from a true experience of reality. Samsara is the cycle of this suffering and relates to the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Take my driving experience this morning for example. Turning onto Spring Garden Road, then a couple right turns, and I’m back to Spring Garden, stopping for pedestrians, hawk eyes trained for that parking spot to fill my need. I could’ve kept going like this for a very long time, however, being a sensible person I finally decided it was time to relieve myself of this pattern and simply return home. Wanting to park was my Duhkha and the Samsara was my continual route around town. Often when it comes to suffering I continue that route over and over looking for the opening but rarely finding it.
Yoga is meant to help Break the Cylce
On this cycle of suffering, according to yogic philosophy we act on old habits, conditioned by the same patterns we’ve acted out before. This would be akin to my driving in circles over and over without offering myself the awareness to create change. Yoga as a physical practice can help regulate our body back into a levelled state; neither anxious nor lethargic, so that the awareness comes back to the moment and away from our old thought patterns allowing for mindfulness to take their place.
The Moment and being Mindful
In his book Stone writes: “Each moment of experience, whether in stillness or in reactivity, sets up the pattern for the next consecutive moment, and our ability to skillfully meet each and every moment with open and undivided attention is possible to astonishing degrees. This moment conditions the next.”
Upon practicing and opening myself to a new physiological state, I’m able to step back and observe how I react to each moment. And yes, habits are hard to kick! So with every class, every breath, I’m reminding myself to bring the attention back to the moment, that which is real, tangible and forever changing.
And you can bet that next time I leave for yoga class, I’ll be taking a new path, an enlightened one: Metro Transit.