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Yoga is Everywhere

BY Parvati

Hello from Santa Fe! As I mentioned last week, having put the finishing touches on my I Am Light EP, I have stepped away from the music studio for a while to spend time in meditation and selfless service. I am with my guru Amma, a fully realized master who embodies divine love and compassion.
At these free programs, you get to hear spiritual talks from senior monastic disciples as well as from Amma herself, bathe in the beautiful and purifying energy of devotion as Amma leads bhajan singing, then immerse yourself in a guided meditation before you take your turn to receive Amma’s loving embrace in the form of a healing, motherly hug, known as darshan.
During my year living in India, I met many masters, but none compared with what I find in Amma, in terms of both spiritual energy and accessibility. Many spiritual teachers will not even allow their disciples to touch them, for fear that they will lose energy. Others may isolate themselves in a remote cave without concerning themselves with the day to day world. Most teachers will subject a prospective disciple to tests to determine their commitment and readiness, before accepting them as a student. But Amma embraces everyone, witnesses and seeks to assuage suffering in every moment, accepts all who come her way seeking guidance and commits to overseeing their spiritual journey. She has embraced tens of millions of people. She says she is not like a battery that can run down, but rather that she is eternally connected to infinite divine Source. She exemplifies yoga: oneness with all that is. It is exceptional and incredible that we have such grace present among us at this time.
Amma is giving a free all-day program today, Sunday. Then a retreat begins Monday and continues through Wednesday morning before another free public program begins on Wednesday evening.
International Yoga Day is coming up this week, as is the summer solstice, a time when the vitality in nature is at its highest. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, nature’s new year and the beginning of its annual growing cycle starts at the fall equinox, when the smallest amount of vitality is released. The growth energy continues through the Winter Solstice, when a bit more vitality is released, peaking at the Summer Solstice. As such, the solstice is a great day to focus on being maximally receptive to the height of grace that is available to you right now. In so doing, you nourish your life and all your projects with a deep sense of aliveness. This will create a trajectory for an unfolding that you can harvest this fall.
Stay tuned for specials on the Positive Possibilities Store for my yoga products to celebrate International Yoga Day! In the meantime, I would like to share more about what yoga is to me.
Yoga is at the heart of all spiritual practices. Whether you are Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, or part of any other tradition, the desire and practice to become one with the divine is yoga. Yoga comes from a Sanskrit word meaning union, or to yoke or join. As a radiant, ancient practice and science of life making strides all over the world, the art and science of yoga reaches far beyond bendy, physical exercises. Yoga is a systematic body of knowledge and practice that teaches integrated living, while living our highest good, following our deepest joy.
While yogic knowledge spans the breadth of spiritual study, herbal medicine, astrology and such, what we mostly know of yoga in the Western world is one small branch of it, called hatha yoga, which concentrates on the health and purity of the body. Whether you are doing Kripalu, Ashtanga, Hot Yoga, Power Yoga, Kundalini, or any other kind of yoga in a local yoga studio, you are likely doing some form of hatha yoga.
The goal of hatha yoga is the purification of subtle channels that run through the body, so that we can experience unending bliss while remaining present in the body. It is understood that our ego and our attachments are in the way of this fountain of joy, and as such, clog our ability to tap into true abundance.
When injuries, exhaustion, discontent, overdoses and addictions set in, we must make peace with the sobering fact that we are actually part of nature, and as such, must live by earthly, mortal laws.
Living in alignment with nature lets us tap into an infinite well of power and creativity, the very life force that continually creates this amazing universe in which we live. Yoga is a way to trade in the never-ending rollercoaster search for temporary highs for a life that welcomes eternal bliss.
I am forever grateful for the experiences I have had and continue to have through my yoga practice. They teach me, as no theory book ever could, about the bigness of yoga, the breadth of its history and the practical implications it has as a real-life, day-to-day practice, especially in today’s busy world. Yoga is immense and also so simple. It comes alive when we practice, when we go within and face our self, when we get on the mat and do our exercises and when we bring that expanded spaciousness out into the world and chose to live awakened lives, moment by moment.
One of my favourite sayings by Swami Sivananda is “An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory”. The saying helps us remember that enlightened action, living awake in the world, is where our true practice exists. We can stay “knowledgeable” in our heads, but if it does not translate into loving and serving, then it really does not mean much at all in our journey as a yogi or spiritual aspirant. Yoga helps us live all aspects of life more fully.
Yoga is life. It is everything. It is the way the branches of each tree converge and make entirely unique patterns each time. It is within the mystery of life unfolding and it is the mystery itself. It is the gut “knowing” we all have from deep within, and it is within the surrendered sense of “not knowing”.
Yoga can create the foundation of the way we receive the moment, process information and experience life. All is yoga. All situations and circumstances in our daily life are opportunities for transcendent awakening and flowering into I Am consciousness. At times we will meet those opportunities. At times we won’t. The more we practice being open, ready and willing to be here and now, the more we can. It is not to say that all we will encounter is sweet and lovely. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it is not. The more we meet this moment, the sweeter it feels because in that moment, as we practice yoga, we find life itself.
Yet what we perceive to be sweet or not, ultimately does not matter. It is not our job to determine what the nature of reality is, to try to label it or categorize it, fix or arrange it. It is our job simply to meet that which is. Through the courage to meet that which is, expansion occurs. That which was sweet, sour, salty, pungent or bitter becomes fuel for transformation into I Am consciousness, returning to the One. When we practice non-resistance to what is, we awaken to the jewels of this moment. We learn to allow our self to expand and meet this present moment, rather than contract, run and hide from it.
Ultimately, yoga is about merging back with the One source of pure consciousness, dissolving our identification with our ego. Yoga is built upon the practice of humility and letting go. When we allow our self to release, we return to flow with a force much greater than our individual will. We begin to live in rhythm with the infinite, as a witness to the finite, rather than bound by the finite, wondering if the infinite exists.
Until next time,
Love yourself.
Love others.
Love our world.
We are one Earth family.
Namaste,
Parvati