Look at yourself: Yoga & the mirror

Yoga studios rarely come equipped with mirrors, unless you are doing the undeniably self-conscious Bikram yoga.  Perhaps this is because yoga itself is the mirror.  

A few weeks ago, I posted about still feeling dislocated here in Altea.  It takes time to settle in.  But, more than that, by writing my thoughts down and sharing them with the world, I continued the process of self-analysis that is yoga.  Yoga and mirror.  Whatever you give, you get.

I still agree with myself in most of what I said.  but I am willing to swallow my pride – and my words – and ask your kind forgiveness for my til-then blindness.  When I said that I could not understand how the folk round here could be so glum while surrounded by this wild natural beauty, what I was really asking was “Rachel, how can you be glum when surrounded by all this natural beauty?”  Good question, eh?

Since then, I realise that I was simply prioritising my worries about work-family-life (the same ones you have, I am sure) and putting them ahead of my enjoyment of the here and now.  Looking at the mountains in the Calpe pass, I would think “what am I doing here” rather than “what beautiful rusty colours, what textures and lines!”  This is pretty common behaviour, people.  Yoga helps train the mind, keeping it on the straight and narrow and avoiding all wallowing and distraction.

Right now, in my Yoga Therapy training, we are studying the third book of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  In sutras III:9-16, Patanjali exposes the new state of mind that arises when we have fully integrated into our lives the first five limbs of Astanga Yoga (as set out in book 2).  We are now approaching contemplation, Dharana.  The mind is able to glimpse states of serenity, but theses are interspersed with the usual fluctuations and distractions.  Nevertheless, the mind is becoming increasing able to concentrate.  I find the sutras amazing because they really are very accurate in their portrayal of the milestones on the road of yoga.  Or, in my case they are.  Bear in mind that each person’s experience of yoga is unique and precious.

So, Rachel, look in the mirror.  Choose happiness and helps others find theirs.  This is the road of the yogini and the yoga teacher.

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