Posted on January 9th, 2011
It is easy to want instant strength and a quick fix solution to produce fast, immediate results. But in yoga the learning comes from allowing the body and the mind to unfold in a steady grace over many years of practice. Each breath along the path of yoga is meant to open your heart to deeper levels of peace and joy. Each practice is a methodical re-training of the habit pattern of the mind to be geared more towards compassion. Each posture holds a lesson that cannot be rushed. If the journey toward achieving a physical posture takes years, imagine how long it takes to achieve final liberation from the cycle of suffering. It takes a strong mind to stand in the midst of a very long journey and not be daunted by the greatness and scope of the path ahead.
True strength is not brute force, it is a quiet decision to do whatever it takes to get the results that you want. Some postures teach practitioners specific spiritual lessons and there is no time limit on spiritual learning. Challenging arm balances are about connecting to an eternal place within, finding the self-empowerment to believe in yourself every step of the way. When you try to lift your body off the ground you are cultivating the kind of tenacity needed to effect spiritual transformation. In yoga you are the one who works every day for your own liberation. You are the one who must learn to believe in yourself, to cultivate the type of determination that is willing to put in the work to break through old patterns of suffering, revealing true and lasting peace. The yoga practice aims to give you spiritual strength, an inner resolve that carries you through good times and bad just the same. There is nothing stronger than your open hearted awareness.
Before I practiced yoga I had a different conception of strength. External force carried the message of a strong person. I learned through sincere self-inquiry that the mask of strength worn on the outside often belies a vulnerability within. When I started practicing yoga I got a glimpse of the nature of true strength and I was humbled to see how far I had to go in order to realize the strength and steadiness of mind that the spiritual path demands. Rather than being superficial, strength in yoga comes from a intimate place inside. When you touch your spiritual center you find the warmth of an open heart. This compassionate place within allows you to connect more fully to other living beings and actually be a force of healing the world.
Each seemingly impossible posture forces you to tap into a place inside of yourself that is eternal. In the transformation of your body and mind you experience yourself at the deepest place possible, a place beyond the trials and tribulations of daily life. There are many words for the eternality held within each living being, but the most universal force in the world is love. In every beating heart there is a great capacity to feel and respond from a place of strength within. If you are able to tap into the divine heartbeat within you will also experience the true potential of the human spirit, a powerful creator that can hold the whole world, both good and bad, in compassionate arms forever.
The story of yoga is actually a love story, a romance of the soul where you learn to fall graciously in love with your inner self. Not in a romantic sense, but in a truly unconditional, eternal and divine sense, the love that comes from the practice of yoga forms the foundation of all spiritual practice. Love is the only force strong enough to never quit, never give out and remain humbling willing to do the work that no one and nothing else will do. True love is eternal and lives inside each human being as a beginningless, birthless, deathless power center. Practice is the careful cultivation of the awareness of the gentle pulse of love within your own body, the feeling of the heartbeat of the universe complete with the energy that creates worlds and the direct experience of the limitless potential of the human spirit.
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.
Tags: Yoga, Spiritual Path, Awareness, Strength, Yoga for Beginners, benefits of yoga