This post was written by me last year (March 2010). It appeared on day 90 of the Bikram 101 challenge blog (which to my regret I was not able to complete and will revisit someday)
I came across it and found it fitting for this time in my life. Yoga has always brought me peace, but even more so now. For approx 6 months I did not practice yoga. Coming back to it last summer I was so aware of what a gift it was. Absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
Social Media serves many purposes. I find it interesting because I feel like I'm getting a peek inside of my friends heads. Take facebook and twitter for instance. People type in thoughts and hit enter, many times before thinking it through. "Do I really want to post THIS?" Twitter is almost like a strange little collective stream of consciousness. One hundred and forty characters at a time of disjointed thoughts, ideas, opinions, and emotions. If we could truly get into each others heads and hear what goes on in there for a full day we'd probably think our friends crazy and they in turn would be appalled at what goes on in ours!
We are not our thoughts though. That stream of consciousness that flows during the day is not truly who you are. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, songs that rattle through your mind, all of the "noise" is not you.
Yoga helps us to tap into that deeper layer of consciousness. I like to think of it as the ocean. The top of the water is choppy, churning, sometimes violent, always moving. At the bottom of the ocean, where all is still, quiet and deep, lays "the watcher". This is the other part of us that observes. This is the part that takes over during the 90 minute moving meditation that is Bikram. The watcher is what pulls us through a tough class. Our minds, like children, will start to wander. "It's hot in here. My shorts are riding up. That girl has amazing postures. Man she's keeping us in postures forever today. My contacts are jacked up today. Crap I can't balance today. Look at mr. cutie in the back row....." The watcher interrupts the chatter and reminds you to breathe. You are brought back to the room, your focus returns and your mind quiets. If you are like me, the mind does not stay quiet. The 90 minutes is an exercise in constantly returning to focus. When it's all over, we lay in savasana, quiet, sated. If we are lucky, we are able to take that gift and use it the rest of the day. Able to stay calm and focused in other segments of our day, not just yoga.
The mind chatter is what makes us human. The watcher is what reminds us we are also spiritual beings, able to connect with something beautiful and powerful. Able to get out of our own head and find peace, even if just for a moment. Yoga is the gift that brings us closer to that peace.
"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."