|Day 1 = Lighthouse Beach, Chatham, MA. Yoga with the seals!|
My 41st year has been of self discovery, empowerment, and enlightenment. Those are pretty powerful adjectives and they center around my new found discovery and adoration of the practice of yoga.
Not only is my body the strongest it has been since the days when I studied kenpo karate, my spiritual health is being awakened in new and exciting ways. I use yoga as a way to connect my body to my God. In my practice, I am learning to contort and open my body into positions I would have considered laughable a year ago while at the same time still my mind through conscious, intentional breathing. When this happens I can pray.
|Day 2 = Red River Beach, Harwichport, MA.|
When this happens I can pray without interruption by person or by mind. I can recite prayers in the stillness of my mind, connecting my words to my breathing. Or I can just have a meaningful conversation with my God.
When I read Eat, Pray, Love years ago I learned that monks practice yoga in preparation for meditation and prayer. This resonated with me. I always went to church and prayed, but praying in church seemed rote, stiff, and not as meaningful as listening to the sermon and understanding how the priest's words impacted my day to day life. I would lie in bed at night unsuccessful in my attempts to turn my mind off. I never realized that my body needs to be refocused in a way that acts as an off switch. That switch turns off my incessant internal chatter. The chatter about my calendar, classes, lessons, personal relationships, household issues, errands and chores. It all goes away and for a period of 90 minutes my mind is still. What I invite into it is conscious. I use this time to invite God in.
|Foggy morning yoga at Red River Beach. Day 3|
My yoga studio, whether it is in a building or en plain aire, is my church for that period of time. Like I rely on the Father at church to challenge my intellectual spirituality, I have come to rely on my yoga practice and my yoga instructors to challenge my physical spirituality. When they are connected, I am at peace and unlike the peace and tranquility a massage, a pedicure or a shopping trip promises, this peace is lasting.
My goal is to connect the feeling I have walking out of a yoga class to the rest of my life. When my daily world is pressing in on me, I will remember the words of my instructor, “practice handling stress here, with grace, so that you can handle stress outside the studio with grace”.
I am thankful to have had 4 consecutive days of yoga practice on the sand, next to the sea, with seals to encourage me, and no space between my body and the heavens.
|Yoga day 4. Glorious.|