Yoga teaches you to listen to your own inner voice. It is a process of awakening and attunement that defines personal integrity by the depth of each students’ connection with themselves. Through pain, pleasure, injury, ecstasy and bliss yoga invites practitioners to travel down the rabbit hole of personal discovery so that they may find their wonderland within.
Feeling the inner body deeply allows yoga practitioners a daily window into their own soul. By regularly tuning into this internal level yogis can actually feel the alignment or misalignment of their actions. The body’s wisdom lies in its pervasive truthfulness
and the yogi’s wisdom lies in the ability to listen to the body’s sometimes superior sense of self. The body is perhaps the most physical form of the mind and the spirit and in fact outwardly and inwardly tells its story with clarity and precision. Practitioners learn to delineate messages from their inner world from whims of fancy and desire through years of dedicated practice. It is a delicate tightrope to walk the line between healthy guidance and destructive old habits that die hard.
Yoga postures or asanas give practitioners a chance to access the spiritual through the physical. This long, arduous task of internal awakening makes it possible for dedicated practitioners to excavate layers of themselves. Yogis cross the bridge between the physical and the spiritual through a path interlaced with the fire of pain, the release of trust and the freeflow of love. Each physical posture presents a series of tests and challenges that heal the body and train the mind. In the small moments where practitioners make contact with the eternal part of themselves they gain access to a more deeply tuned-in way of living, being and acting. It is in this undulating state where the flow of life actually begins.
Yoga is a sanctuary where you learn to listen to your body. Like a holiday from the limiting, negative thoughts that run on auto-pilot at the back of the mind yoga helps amplify the true nature of your mind and soul within. This heightened faculty of
listening allows you to actually hear not only the body but also the mind. When your capacity to listen is at its greatest and most refined you have the ability to listen directly to your soul and seek its constant guidance. At the depths of your being lies a place where you already know all the answers to your deepest questions, a state of being so serene it remains calm even amidst the most terrifying traumas of your life and a mind so vast it encompasses the entire universe both good and bad in a field of love.
While on a daily basis it is often hard to hear the musings of the subtle language of soul, with regular yoga practice it is possible to attune your vibrational sensory perception to follow the messages surface from the deep. All the greatest ideas are in some sense channeled from this soft space within, not generated by a mechanistic world without. The miracle of yoga is that it provides regular people like you and me a way to literally gain access to the sacred inner world of spirit. Without this check-in I would sometimes quite literally be lost. While I do not get it right every time and certainly there are moments when I think I am receiving a deep message only to find that I am just feeding an old negative behavior, yoga helps me get better at listening to, trusting and having faith in the soft, but persistent voice within.
While the tradition of yoga is intensely bound to the sanctity of the teacher-student relationship, the words and guidance of the greatest teachers are meant as sign-posts that lead students to the discovery of their own true voice within. The presence of every yoga master raises the bar for the possibility of a better life for each student and is a starting point where we can begin. The ending point of this age-old tradition, the ultimate goal of eternal peace, must be an individual experience gained through the hard work and good fortune of each practitioner. Years under a teacher’s divine guidance can best give you the gift of finding your highest teacher within. No sacred teacher wants you to do what they say just because they said so or because you read in an ancient scripture. At its best yoga is a non-dogmatic, non-religious path towards self-realization. All yoga is experiential by definition because no one can live your awakening for you. No matter how many times you read it in scriptures or hear it from your teacher nothing is real for you along the path of yoga until you actually feel it in your own body, mind and soul as a call to action. There is no one who can know your own journey better than yourself and no one who can answer the hardest questions of your life but yourself. Teachers and tradition illuminate the path ahead for you, but you have to take each step with your own two feet. Once you dig deep enough and touch the eternal nature within you hold the key to lead yourself out of darkness into your own salvation.
Yoga seeks to unify the practitioner with the deepest level of themselves through a harmonization of body, mind and soul. When the mind is quiet, the body is healthy and the soul is free every living being can experience what is their birth right, that is, a state of boundless happiness, limitless joy and compassionate power. The entire process of yoga is one of remembering who you really are. In the glory of our true nature we trust the innate goodness of our being and learn to listen to the quiet voice of belief that comes from our deepest sense of self. Against a mountain of evidence to the contrary and doubt that cripples generations you have one thing to hold onto, a soft, subtle, but courageous voice that dares to say I think I can.
About Kino MacGregor
Kino MacGregor is a small business owner (www.miamilifecenter.com), yoga teacher and freelance journalist who has produced two yoga DVDs and is currently working on her first book, Inner Peace, Irresistible Beauty to be released late April 2009. For complete details please see www.ashtanga-awareness.com.