I am a yoga instructor. Not all the time, but on occasion, the universe allows me to serve a few people in this capacity. It’s a privilege. As is the ability to practice yoga, at all. Sometimes, when a practice starts, I am immediately able to cultivate sacred space. I become sacred in the practice, the moment it begins. I become something other than Laurie. I become something bigger and more powerful than myself. I connect to the Heavens and grow rooted in the ground, so that I bring together Heaven and Earth with my will, with my breath, with my very being. I feel the fullness of the universe on the mat. I am the universe and the universe is within me and then, there is no me and it is just breath, awareness; emptiness that is full. The sensation is so pure, beautiful and liberating. I must go do more yoga, for the very core of my existence longs for the stitching together of light and dark; for the awesome power of combining Heaven and Earth. She who is able to see all of life as sacred is blessed, indeed.
For yoga beginners who are just starting out, there may not be a feeling of sacredness on the mat in the beginning. When I began yoga in 1999 through Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga VHS Tapes in the basement of my home in Des Moines, Iowa I watched him like he was nuts. I was 29 years old, so was Kest, I believe. He seemed so full of himself to me. There was an air to him that came across the room from the TV. On my mat on thick carpet I had no sense of being connected to the ground and with a house above me, I hardly felt the presence of the sky. I don’t know that Kest even made reference to Heaven or Earth. It seemed ridiculous to me then that yoga had the power and potential to change my dear, sweet sister’s life (yet it had). I couldn’t see what it was that yoga had done for my sister, but oh I knew I needed whatever that change was. I needed it so badly. It wasn’t until 2011 after many years of Bikram’s Yoga that I signed up for a class at a local community college.
Yoga four times a week, four days in a row with a skillful, nurturing teacher changed my life.
My community college teacher, Kathy Tousek set a special ambiance in the classroom which was really a dance room with wood floors and mirrors everywhere. She would turn down the overhead lights and plug in a set of stringed lights. She invited a relatively reflective and quiet mood for us to settle into before beginning the practice. I felt myself soothed, nurtured, centered, and calm after working with this woman for a week. She alleviated a lot of the angst I had in my life, I believed. This was working for me, I saw. I felt better. I noticed that I wanted to make other people feel better, too. I felt the inclination to spread this wonderful feeling of nurturing fullness. That was truly the beginning of feeling what is sacred about yoga, for me.
Perhaps you have something to say about what “sacred” really is or about how to make yoga a sacred practice. I know that every word holds distinctively varied connotations for every human being and I also know that every human being’s experience is valuable (and sacred) in itself, so I love to hear others’ ideas and honor others’ opinions. If you’re interested, please share your valuable insights and wisdom regarding the meaning of “Sacred” with me and my random readers here on this blog.
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