step into the light

Posted by on Nov 12, 2012 in Breath and Body | Comments Off on step into the light

step into the light

Tomorrow is Diwali, the day that marks the new year of the Hindu calendar.  Translated, Diwali means “row of lights”, and is known as the festival of lights.  During this 5 day long festival, celebrants light lamps around the house, offer puja to gods and godesses (Lakshmi and Kali are the big ones), and share meals and sweets with family and friends.

Diwali also has a strong symbolic component.  It is a time when we are encouraged to turn away from the darkness and towards the light, to recognize the false identification with our egos (separate sense of self) and align with the knowledge that we are all connected, we are all made of pure and eternal light.  We are not our minds and our bodies, but of the universe.  This is Diwali, but this is also yoga.

In the Yoga Sutras, the practice of yoga is outlined as the cessation of the fluctuations and distractions of the mind and moving beyond the identification with the thinking self, the ephemeral self.  In its place is stillness and enlightenment.  There is no god to be found  “out there” because there is no such thing as “out there”.  Everything is in you and you are in everything.

When people ask me about yoga, about how it’s different than other forms of exercise, it comes down to this.  The goal of asana (the poses) is not to get a ripped body but to be in a state of optimum health so that the physical form becomes a solid and stable conduit for the tasks of the mind.  This is the real work.  Once the body becomes a pillar, it provides a sound foundation for dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and finally samadhi (a consciousness aligned with the divine).

If meditation is not currently a part of your routine, maybe this is the time to begin.  Set aside a bit of time in each of your asana practices to build a seat for quiet contemplation.  Some of us need to move the body before we can quiet the mind, others do best to meditate in the morning or before they get moving.  Start with modest goals, set a timer for 10 minutes and remove all distractions.  Sit, breathe, be quiet and allow the thoughts to be swept away.  This is no soft endeavor; making room for the light requires preparation and an ongoing investment.  It’s not part of yoga, it is yoga.  Next time you hit your mat with the intention of sweating and toning up, kicking into that challenging pose, see the shapes for what they are: medicine for darkness, preparation for what comes next.

All content by Lisa Veronese. Please do not publish or copy my material without my consent.