For me, Balanced has served as a sweet, sweet sanctuary for my yoga practice to develop. Through my practice over the past few years, I have grown to observe and notice the things that I had previously taken for granted, and at time, still do; after all, no one is a perfect yogi/yogini. Starting with the breath, taking the time and awareness to wind down, settle in and initiate a practice by choosing to attend class, have caused me to become more in touch with my source and my true self. I have found greater peace and cultivated more happiness. I have expressed gratitude and acknowledged experiences for what they are in the moment as they transpire. I respire, and I notice. I practice asana, and I breath. I stretch and II release. I grow and I aspire. I evolve. I resolve to be a better me, a work in progress, all the while knowing that I am exactly where the Universe intends for me to be.
I choose to engage in this process at Balanced, where I have found a supportive community of teachers and students alike. At Balanced, we honor one another and our practice(s). We share and we support. I am grateful to be a member of this community that has given to me so much more than a place to lay my mat, and hope that many have and will experience it as the same. I believe it was Patanjuli or perhaps Desikachar who offered the following definition of yoga: “yoga is the practice of doing what you haven’t done before.” To practice yoga is to attain what was previously unattainable. I am a testimonial of such growth and offer gratitude to Balanced for serving as a cornerstone in this journey.
The breath is infinite .. a web that is woven to hold you in the present moment… with out it there is an extinction of life. A void of trees and animals leaving nothing to source from. With breath comes the very existence of all that is.
It is so simply organic we rarely consider its flow, yet essential, there is no thriving with out it. There is a nirvana like sense when we allow ourselves to be captured by the breath and put the judging mind to rest. Focusing on the rhythm of it is the doorway to the song of our essential nature. The anthem of the soul. Within this space we are invited into the breeze of ascending sky energy with every inhale and an earthward ebb with every exhale, persuading us into a scope of supported contemplative silence where we can feel rather than project. In this place we can hear the earth and commune with the supreme being that is our planet, allowing ourselves to arrive, exactly as we are, abundant and brightly illuminated.
Getting ready to practice and where not to spend energy is a big question.
Reflecting is a big part of my practice. When I reflect about things that can help me in my practice, the first thing that comes to my mind is commitment to the practice that comes from remembering (smriti) that it works. I find that looking at the alternatives to the practice is a great help in remembering. So what is the alternative to practicing/paying attention? Constantly running after desires without paying attention.
I think that in order to give a chance to the practice, it’s important to get the other alternative out of the system first. So looking back at the things that we desired so much in the past and received is a great reflection. We all have that thing that we were obsessed with, received or achieved, and we don’t care about anymore. And if this kind of reflection is not enough, I am a true believer in ‘mindfully desiring’ which means: getting that thing that you really desire and checking if it really brings you happiness. Realizing that happiness does not come from fulfilling your desires is a great starting point since you know where not to look for happiness, or in spiritual terms, renunciation.
One of the things I struggle with is to discuss yoga from a point of view that explains what it is rather than what it is not. When people hear that I practice yoga they usually say that they should practice as well since they are not in a good shape, and they suffer from stress. The practice of yoga brings amazing mental and physical changes, however these changes are just a small part of what one can gain from the practice. By using the word ‘practice’ we may imply that there is something to achieve or grasp – like training or working towards a fixed / set goal. This is one of the hardest things to understand because the practice is actually about the opposite of grasping. It is about being free from grasping – in yogic terms ‘setting the mind into silence’. There are pairs of “opposites” in yoga that help reduce the grasping on the mind like the relation between action and inaction, effort and effortless, practice and non-attachment, karma (work) and lila (play). This is what I try to pay attention to these days. This focus helps me turn my entire life into a joyful practice instead of dividing my life into different departments that consist of likes and dislikes. My discovery is that these “opposites” were never opposites, but just an illusion of the mind. Enjoy practicing, Peace, Matan