This is my first take at writing the answer to what is my highest aim and how does Yoga speak to that aim. Let’s just say that tonight I only like the first sentence!
I aim to listen to the spirit who speaks through my intuition, to speak with courage and vulnerability to what binds people and to see them set free.
I came to yoga bound in fear, anger, and resentment, but I did not know their names. I knew that these emotions were locked up tight in places in my body, but I did not know how to release them. I also wanted to be able to enjoy the present time but I could not figure out how. In my first yoga classes, I began to feel a release of emotions that had names and expressions. I began to categorize my thoughts and found that so much of my thought life was spent mourning the past or not patiently waiting for a future time and place. So for 3 years, my mantra in every class was, “Let it go!” I knew that I needed to set my emotions free so that I could unlock the tight places in my body. I knew that I was robbing myself of joy in the present by living in the past or the future. The process was slow and steady but I kept practicing. The cool thing is that the lessons did not just stay on my mat. I brought them home! I found that I started connecting to my breath more at home to bring me back into the present. I found that if for 1 minute I could let go of the past and the future, then I was free to experience the joy of the present.
In the Gita according to Gandhi, Mahadev Desai says that yoga is “the yoking of all the powers of body, mind and soul to God.” I want this for my life and believe that yoga helps connect me to God at the deepest level. I want it all. Total body, total mind and soul in union (yoga) with God. When I practice yoga, I am learning to live in the present moment and then I will be able to hear more clearly the spirit who speaks. If I am challenged in my yoga practice to focus my mind, to engage my body, to open my heart, then I am practicing the art of being courageous and vulnerable. My hope is that my words and actions will then be both courageous and vulnerable. In Beryl Bender Birch’s book, Power Yoga, she says that the reason for practicing yoga is to become more fully yourself. I hope to take that risk!