Welcome back! My heart and thoughts are still on Japan…and I pray you have not forgotten those who still suffer and those who have died. In the light of such tragedy, I found it fitting that we turn this week to the spiritual world and to our Yoga…a reminder, perhaps; things are not really as they appear. Often in mourning the physical losses and torments, we lose sight of a greater reality and truth of our existence.
A tidbit to add to last week’s article regarding Japan: A powerful method of sending harmony and healing energy to the people of Japan lays in mindfully dedicating each asana of your Yoga session to them. Before you begin, you may also wish to set your intention towards this end and allow the thoughts to then sink into your heart to ignite compassion and loving-kindness within.
Without further ado…
Spiritual Yoga Law One
At the core of our being, we are pure awareness. Call it Spirit, The God-Presence…use what words you will, but please remember we are speaking of the same. This true reality is the space from which all creativity and all possibilities are born. It is timeless, and within this pure awareness lays harmony, knowledge, and the Infinite Peace of coexistence with The Creator. It is easy to forget this simple fact as we whirl around in the currents and tides of our physical lives – We are infinite, timeless beings of infinite possibilities. That which we truly are can never be harmed, and knows the bliss of existence in a constant state of harmony and direct contact with The Creator.
Spiritual Yoga Law Two
The second spiritual law of Yoga is the law of Karma, or cause and effect. The simplest way to understand Karma is this: What we sow, we reap. If we think thoughts that are positive, loving, and faithfully unattached to the outcome, we reap positive results. Negativity in thought produces the very things we worry about, fear, and want to avoid. Our actions are the same – positive actions towards a goal reap positive results if they are in line with the harmony and rhythm of the universe. Karma is not as some would define as a prison, Karma is the ultimate expression of our own creative power as beings of pure awareness. We create our world second by second; consciously aware of it or not. In this regard, you have Karma at an individual level, a society level and most important in our present environment – on a species or world level.
Spiritual Yoga Law Three
The third law of spiritual Yoga is called the law of least effort. If we examine Nature, whether it is animals, trees, rivers, the wind…everything with the exception of human beings already understands this law. Water follows the path of least resistance, tides ebb and flow with an uncanny laziness, flowers bloom with any strain or effort. All of Nature is held together by love or attraction, and when we act from our center, we act out of love as well. Love requires no effort or strain; it just is…just as we are. In these moments, we are following the natural rhythm and energy of our whole universe.
Spiritual Yoga Law Four
The fourth law states that we as a member of humanity each have a purpose in this existence. We are each special in our own way, possessing unique talents and creativity, and because of this every member of the human race is equal and equally precious. It naturally follows that as we each have a purpose, the rest of humanity and our world have need of each of us. Allowing those needs to reveal themselves in your life leads to fulfillment and the joy of doing what you love in the service of humankind.
There are three ‘tasks’ which must be accomplished in fulfilling the fourth law of Spiritual Yoga: The first being to acknowledge your Higher Self, or Soul – and divine connection to all of Creation. The second task requires us to be willing to embrace our own uniqueness, love ourselves and release our creativity into our lives. The third and final task in fulfilling the fourth spiritual law of Yoga is to give your unique talents to the world in the service of others.
Practicing the first four laws
A very convenient and useful way to practice the first four laws of spiritual Yoga is to link them to a day of the week and be mindful of the spiritual law for the day, as well as in your Yoga practice. Personally, I prefer to think of Sunday as the first day of the week, so for sake of argument we will begin there. Here is a suggested order and guidance for your practice:
Sunday – Law one…Pure Awareness
Set your intention for your Yoga session to be mindful of the silence within you between every movement and asana you perform. Be aware of the ‘silent observer’ who appears to be watching your physical self perform the poses, and realize that you are capable of remaining focused on the silence within as you interact with your physical environment.
Take the time each day to enter communion with nature in some small way for at least twenty minutes. Watch a sunset; listen to waves lapping on the beach, or perhaps the sound of birds singing at the dawn. If this is unavailable to you, choose a soothing meditative CD, preferably one utilizing ocean waves or other natural sounds.
Practice non-judgment actively for the entire day. If you find yourself judging something, let go of the judgment and practice acceptance instead. When we cease to judge, our minds become calm and the silence from which our awareness and creativity flows naturally fills the space.
Monday – Law Four…I have Purpose
Remain aware of the silent witness within today. In your Yoga practice, be aware of those poses you perform more easily and naturally then others. Celebrate the unique strengths you have that allow these poses to be performed so naturally, even as you strive to better all the asanas in your routine. Allow this reminder of your own uniqueness to extend into your own creativity and celebrate the gifts you have that make you unique and needed by the world.
Begin to develop an inner dialogue with your true self. Ask questions like “how can I help today?” or “how may I serve those I interact with today?” When we approach life from these questions, our own spirit and the whole of Creation move to fulfill our every desire through this selflessness of thought and actions. Watch throughout the day for those opportunities to make themselves known to you and realize the joy you receive in helping someone in your daily life.
Tuesday – Law Two…Karma or Cause and Effect
During your Yoga practice today, notice how the law of Karma is inherent as you perform every action (asana) and receive a reaction. If you are forcing a pose, the reaction from your body is strain, and your mind will soon also feel the strain. In moving through our practice as with life, gentleness and grace allow us to achieve effortlessly without negative reaction. In slowing down are movements, we can become even more aware of the subtle reactions to our postures.
In our day to day interactions, allowing yourself time to evaluate and consider reactions to your decisions equates to a smoother, more balanced and harmonious life. Learn to trust your heart far more than you trust your mind. Your mind is a tool for interpreting and evaluating the messages of the heart before putting them into action, and a calm mind leads to well-thought decisions.
Wednesday – Law Three…Least Effort
Yoga is a wonderful illustration of the third spiritual law of Yoga. While performing your asanas, notice how calm and centered you feel when moving with as little effort as possible – not forcing, just gently guiding your body. In Yoga, when we encounter resistance we are taught not to attempt to power our way through, but to breathe into it instead. We are taught to surrender to the resistance with acceptance and simply breathe…simple! Life is the same way – when you encounter perceived resistance, breathe! Surrender to the moment and allow nature to work her magic in her way in her time.
I felt this was an especially beneficial spiritual law to practice on a Wednesday – for all of us who find this a difficult work day to get by!
Final words for this week…
Yoga – life, spirituality – Yoga, Life -Yoga – spirituality… All is Yoga. All is Life. All is Spirit… (Yes, I’m changing my name to Yoda next week!)
Until we complete the rest of our journey next week with the last four spiritual laws of Yoga…
Namaste, my friends – I bow to you in recognition of the Spirit within you…