Updated: Mar 28, 2021
I wake-- it is dawn. The perfect time for beginning anything, everything. The time I begin my day's work.
Yoga is not just on the mat. But the core of it is, for me. I practice Ashtanga second series, daily, 2-3 hours of backbends and inversions and crazy things like putting legs behind the head, and floating into a headstand just to jump out of it. I spend other hours of the day in more Pilates or Iyengar or Rocket based movement. Always conscious of breath, of body, of the mind and of what animates it all.
I love the strength, flexibility, positivity of living for yoga. But those benefits aren’t the end goal, the reason that I happily wake at dawn and get to work seven days a week. I do that because this is simply the path I chose long ago, the path that brings love and joy to myself and others. What inspired me to step into this life is enlightenment.
The ancient texts say it’s real. I don’t know, but I am willing to find out. I cannot think of a better life’s work.
What is enlightenment, really? I thought it would feel like a place to climb up to, then rest forever, but the longer I work at yoga, the more it seems like a heavenly version of the myth of Sisyphus— the uphill work, carrying a burden not our own, and willing to get back up with every fall back because the falls bring new perspective, which is new knowledge, which creates a new height.
The vision is unwavering. The passion, unfaltering. The devotion, complete.
Any artist will speak like this. In yoga, as in art, or a deep nature experience, or immersive concert— the world falls away. Thoughts, plans, goals, fall away. That that is left is: the here, the now, this sense of oneness, sureness.
Neuroscience will call that flow state; as will yogis. When we are in that current, we realize, the strength and flexibility are nice side effects, like sign posts that reassure: yes, this is the correct path. Keep on.
Keep loving your body, your breath. Keep working the mind, awakening, realizing. Keep dreaming and keep rooting those dreams in the reality of your potential. Keep raising your potential, your energy, from its very source: your body, your breath.
The path is not up, or out, but in, and sometimes back. Enlightenment, the living of peaceful joy, is not a place but a state, a state of mind, a state of being.
And it is invaluable. No matter how the world changes, how successful we become in our careers, how full our lives are with people we love and care for-- we will always, always desire inner peace. And when we find that inside state, that dynamic resting point within, then we can see the beauty of our lives with heightened clarity. Life comes alive.