Samatvam Yoga Uchyate

…which I just learned means “Yoga is the state of equilibrium”. I am reading B.K.S. Inengar “Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health” and the initial chapter is on the life of Inengar. It’s so fascinating…

Yoga has been a part of my life for many years. My dad practiced yoga when I was a teenager. I certainly didn’t understand it, and often made fun of it, but looking back, I see how good it was for him. 

I have taken health club yoga off and on since high school. Somehow, in a way that only I could, I turned yoga into a competitive sport. It became about flexibility, mastering the physical aspects of the pose, and at the same time, getting frustrated with myself when I couldn’t balance or do as well as I thought I should. Yoga became all about me in the most selfish way; the practice lost all of the ability to heal because I lost sight of my equilibrium. 

I often tried to move into advanced poses without practicing the more simple postures. The book explains the results of that: it brings in greediness (steya) and possessiveness (parigraha). I can attest to the truth in these words and the dissonance of energy that is brought into play. 

In January, in my quest to reduce stress, I decided to take a yoga class from an actual “yogi”. The teacher I chose practices out of a home and trains yoga instructors. She’s been practicing yoga for over 50 years and will be retiring this summer. Her personality is not what I would have expected, but that in no way minimizes her expertise and passion. There are between 4-6 people in her classes. I may not have long with her as a teacher, but I have already seen the benefits. 
I’ve been able to take my breathing within myself and am learning how to better relax. The breathing exercises are proving to be more necessary and helpful than I ever thought possible. I am not caught up in wanting to be the best just because I’m flexible. I recognize that I need to work on other facets of achieving equilibrium. I have a long way to go, but I am at peace with where I am in the process. 

I have so far to go on this journey, and I pray the steps are meaningful. In my spiritual life, I’ve taken baby steps, but looking back, I can see the progress. I can only hope for this odyssey to be the same. 

As an aside, I chose the term “odyssey” for my blog for several reasons. Of course “journey” was taken, but after considering synonyms, “odyssey” sounded perfect. 

My first thought was of Homer’s epic poem, “The Odyssey”. My son was required to read it earlier this year in freshman English. I read it in high school – well, I read excepts from the Cliff Notes of it. I couldn’t get into it. I found it to be slow and tedious – kind of like my journey to a better state of health. And just like when I was supposed to read “The Odyssey”, I’ve tried every short cut under the sun and have completely missed the point when it comes to nutrition and yoga. 

Miriam-Webster defines odyssey as: a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune. Yep, that fits for sure…

Life is a journey, not a destination. We should enjoy the ride. I’ve said these exact things in my Authentic Believer blog and it’s just as true here. Baby steps, positive growth, each day getting closer to the goal…

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