Thursday, November 11, 2004

Why I Do Yoga - Pt. I

The reasons I do yoga are legion. Some are lofty and spiritual, others physical or mental. Here's an initial list in no particular order:

  1. Pantanjali defines yoga as "the intentional stilling of the mind-stuff." In other words, it's "turning off your mind" for a while. Try to sit in stillness or hold your concentration on one point for an extended period and see how your hyperactive, ticker-tape Monkey Mind jumps from one subject to another, to and fro, all the live-long-day. Yoga is a "breather" from the madness.
  2. To allow prana - or life energy - to come awake and move in my body. Like a closed-shut, overgrown jungle are our unused and atrophied joints, muscles, sinews, and inner-squishy-parts. Yoga helps clear away the build-up like a machete through that jungle, leaving your body absolutely revitalized and refreshed post-yoga.
  3. It's a time of centering and stillness from the modern, break-neck, always-on-the-go world.
  4. Builds muscle
  5. Improves flexibility
  6. In the silence, I find the silence of God. In the stillness, I experience the stillness of God. Turned inward, I feel the presence of God within. Yoga literally means "to yoke" - or to bind oneself... to God.
  7. To stay present in the Now. To fully experience the moment. To not wish things were different. To not wish things would speed along and end sooner. To fully grasp the beauty of the present.
  8. To awaken myself to the subtleties of life. To notice small sensations in my body. To notice the quietness of my breath. To perceive that which normal goes unnoticed. All this in turn helps me to do the same in day-to-day living.
  9. It's practical and real. Yoga is a "spiritual science" that is experienced... not just talked about.

YOUR TURN: a.) What do you do to stay centered? b.) How do you connect with something bigger than yourself? c.) What do you do to "turn off" for a while? (answer one or all three)


Anonymous said...

i am going to answer all three in one, kinda. my favorite thing to do that keeps me centered and connect with Something bigger than myself and "turn off" for a while is definitely sketching or painting. it's in those moments, with a pencil or paintbrush in my hand, and God's creativity flowing through me, that i really feel like ME. like i'm doing what i was created to do, and that He is definitely near to me. time seems to stop, and my "huge" problems melt away to nothing. i'll spend hours in that zone, and when i come out of it, it feels like it's only been a few minutes. amazing. i wish i dedicated more time to it.

tim said...

I have 3 answers to the 3 questions, but really any one of these things provides "centering," "connection," and stillness ("turn off").

Creating Music: Playing my guitar or piano is therapy for my soul, it allows my mind to expand and relax simultaneously while also reveling in the beauty and joy of creativity.

Reading: favorite books or poems bring me inspiration and a better understanding of transcendence.

Quietness: helps me tune in to "the still small voice," to escape from the pervasive distractions of existence and to recognize my smallness. Helps me feel loved.

Erin said...

The only thing I've found I can do to "still my mind" is to just listen to God-in complete silence with no alterior motives or requests. As for "connecting with God", I feel it the most when I'm composing on piano...sometimes I get so lost in it that I forget where I am-that's the best.

jaxun said...

I'm sure this will shatter your impression of me but:

1) smoke herb
2) smoke herb
3) smoke herb

O, I used to paint, but I put that on a shelf for a few years. I hope it's still there, and that I remember where I put it after all the herb I smoked.