The above phrase ‘come home’ is often use in the wellbeing circle. In all honesty, it did not mean much to me until 10 years ago. In the earlier part of my over 25 years of yoga practice, there had been glimpses of equanimity and bliss. There was not a sustaining sense of wellbeing.
My practice consist much of trying to overcome the body. There was great emphasis on how the body was something to bend into shape and to overcome for change to happen. This can be all fine and good when one is young fit and healthy, and in procession of huge reservoir of energy for striving. The list of things to achieve was endless. There was a better standing posture, a flatter seated forward bend and a more blissful savasana (conscious relaxation) and emptying the mind of thoughts (we all know who wins here).
Ten years ago when I was not able do my usual physically demanding practice due to illness, I was drawn towards restorative yoga, yoga nidra and pranayama (breathe) practice. Although having dabbled in supported restorative yoga poses and Ujjayi breathe during asana practice, those practices were never a big part of my practice. It was the thing you do only if you are not able to do anything else.
Did I like this change of pace straight away or give up trying to ‘do’ the practices? The answer is a big fat ‘NO’.
I still resisted and tried to sneak in unsupported asana (physical pose) here and there or push the breath to the point that my head felt like exploding to achieve a longer inhale or exhale length. Still an egocentric practice without an able body.
It was not till my body was so physically battered that I ‘gave in’ to not trying. Doing nothing is easy right, you might say? WRONG! – not for a over active mind that is conditioned to striving. So, guess what came a visiting? The thoughts and emotions were all knocking loudly to be heard. At that stage I think I will probably be similar to those who rather give themselves an electric shock instead of being alone with their thoughts! However, I did persevered with doing ‘nothing’ as I was too ill. The process continue for the next 18 months. What a work – in it was! The sweet surprise that I found was an amazing sense of wellbeing could be accessed even though I was feeling physically ill.
The experience from the quieter permissive practice taught me what it means to come home!
When I come home:-
♥ There is a level of acceptance of what is present. When my body started to succumb to the ills and pains of life’s experience, I soon realised that trying to transcend the body is not necessarily a nourishing practice. It was frankly getting tiring to have the imperfections of your body rubbed into your face repeatedly (mainly by my own doing). It is nicer and more welcoming to be with what present.
Being truly ‘ok’ with my non ok-ness!
♥ There is a state of witnessing that continues even though when I am not on the mat. I can step back’ and observe and choose a more appropriate response than react (admittedly, not all the time as I am human, but most the time).
There is a ability to be comfortable with the arising sensations in the body and even dive deeper into to check it out with curiosity and self love.
♥ There is a sense of knowing underlying all the discomforts and sufferings, there is an unshakable sense of being that is unchanging. The body is not be transcend or dislike or even liked! The miracle of the body, all good and bad, is something to be grateful for and not to belted around. It is what it is!
♥ I can look at myself with more loving and kinder eyes. Letting go of harsh self-judgement.
All this leading to a sustaining sense of wellbeing and joy!
I am grateful for the depth of this ancient practice of yoga and what it continues to offer as I moves through the peaks and trough of life!