Whenever I notice two things that work in similar ways it feels like a light-bulb moment. It’s so fun to see parallels. It is as though I see the obvious, something that’s always been there. In the context of yoga and meditation, here are some thoughts about depth and freedom.
FREE IN BODY AND MIND
I have previously thought a lot about the parallel of physical yoga and meditation practice. I think that as we practise asanas (the physical yoga postures on the mat), we de-block and free our bodies from tension and blockages we have constructed within when we thought we had to “defend” ourselves from challenging life experiences we have all gone through. Everything is connected in the body and it is natural to tense up when something difficult happens and not release it afterwards completely. With yoga you literally open yourself through the postures and movements and the body can be more free again.
It feels similar to me with meditation. You sit in stillness, come into the here and now and free the mind. You free yourself from stories and worries and made-up thoughts that are just in the head and not helpful for your life! I say not helpful because most of our thoughts are about the past or future and very often negative.
The conclusion expressed in dramatic words? You come out of the prison of your body with yoga and out of the prison of your mind with meditation.
DEPTH IN BODY AND LIFE
The other day as I was sitting out in the sun in the garden a new parallel thought came to mind. This one is about living life in the deeper dimension, and how yoga practice also touches me deep in the body in the physical sense.
When I started practising yoga and friends asked me “How is yoga practice different from doing a sport?”, I always compared it to how I felt in the muscles after yoga practice. To me, achy muscles after a sports session feel very different to how my muscles feel after yoga practice. It is as if the yoga practice reaches far within my muscles, into the core of them. I grew up doing a lot of sports and it felt very strange in the beginning to notice the difference. I realised that for me, the feeling of muscle use in a sport is somehow felt on the surface of the muscles and with yoga practice it goes deep within.
And here is how I see depth in living: When I had practised mindfulness meditation for a couple of years some friends asked me “How has mindfulness practice changed your life?” The best way I could explain it was to say that with mindfulness practice it feels as if I am in life versus living on the surface of life. To get the point through I used to point the fingers down to illustrate the “in life” and make a horizontal gesture with my hand to illustrate the “living on the surface of life”.
Having the thought of getting deep into the core of the muscle with yoga and getting deep into life with mindfulness meditation was my little eureka moment of the day 🙂 All about depth my friends!
A UNIVERSE WITHIN
There is always something more we can learn about ourselves to feel more free in life and have more freedom of movement. The possibility of going deeper within is always there. Just as there is a whole universe around you, there is a whole universe within you. Both in the physical body and when you go within with meditation. I think it is amazing and exciting that there is so much depth within all of us and so much to explore!