Tag Archives: Self discovery

Vinyasa: finding a new state of flow

Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow Pulling Pose), photo by unknown

Vinyasa (def. sanskrit):  Sequential movement that interlinks yoga postures to form a continuous flow. It creates a movement meditation that reveals all forms as being impermanent and for this reason are not held on to.  It demands setting an intention in practice and taking the necessary steps toward reaching that goal.

I experienced something profound in my hot yoga practice today.  I was so moved in fact, that I cried.  I reached a point between all the positions, transitions, tensions, and releases, where I no longer could decipher the oozing beads of sweat from rolling tears.

It began slowly.  Rather than acknowledging discomfort, I embraced the relentless heat.  I focused inward.  I found my breath.  Instead of pain, I completely surrendered; I dove anxiously into each tensed posture.  With every new challenging poise I reached deeper inside myself, and I discovered something new – maybe not new, but an unexplored medium for connecting to the divine, to the life flowing within and around me.  I stretched, compressed, I pulled, I pushed; I explored the space and air surrounding my body.  I am not a flexible person, but I truly surprised myself.   By relinquishing any hesitation or sense of displeasure, I indulged in the extremes of positions I had never reached.

No matter how old I may live to be, I truly believe that life will never cease to amaze me.  I could climb the same mountain a hundred times, and every summit would be a new experience.  Every time you establish that connection from your internal roots to flourish outside you, beyond the measure of your own being, it teaches you something – you learn something new about yourself.  You learn by letting go; by releasing your preconceived notions, by submitting to your curiosities, by overcoming your conditioned fears and yielding to a childlike wonder.

There are few precious moments in life where you get to live outside yourself; where motion frees the mind to wander and connect with everything surrounding your being.  Where your energy is released from the weight of all white noise, distractions, and pettiness, and is able to focus soley on the art of the activity at hand, leaving the soul to explore and examine the true essence of each joyous moment.  On a mountain, in the ocean, running toward the endless horizon, and yesterday, for the first time – in hot yoga.   My breath and my movements merged together and my body transformed into raw motion, a constant rhythm pushing towards a goal; a vessel of pure kinetic energy.  Heart, pounding.  Breath, expanding.  Blood, flowing.  I was fully engaged in a beautiful state of flow.  Flow – where life surges through every pore in your body and you are overcome by a divine rapture filling inside you, blossoming into every hollow space.  Where acuteness of the senses enhances each moment, and you become everything by focusing on nothing but the art that is engaging you.

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.”                                                                                                        

                                                                                                              -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi 

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Filed under Self discovery, Travel, Yoga

Discovering Your True Self

Photo by unknown

We never really know who we are until we strip away everything we thought defined us.  All that comprises our daily life; our home, the food we eat, the people we greet, the clothes we wear, the trivial material objects of our unearned affection.  When you leave all this behind in pursuit of a foreign land, in quest of that noble unattainable quality that makes one ‘worldly’ – the word we’re taught from childhood to revere as a synonym for ‘wise’ – life dumps you on your ass to start from scratch.  It’s as if the teacher of life wiped clear the blackboard and handed you a fresh piece of chalk, challenging all you have ever learned.  You begin again, you are free to be yourself with no strings attached, your spirit renewed.  When you travel, it’s as if the world is letting you be as you are, accepting your quirks and graces with open arms, saying “I embrace you, because I understand that you are you, and the accumulation of that is what makes me such an awesomely profound place.”

And only in the absence of our possessions and familiar beings do we begin to unravel the hidden jewel of our soul that has been buried in the pages of a self-written play, the predictable plot we have contrived for ourselves, acting the role of a character we thought to be the perfect part.  I wonder how many people I pass on the street are where they want to be in life…. I wonder if they are living the life they always wanted; if they find happiness in the roles they have assumed in this world.  Isn’t the thrilling rush of travel the notion that tomorrow could bring anything? – that the shackles of routine are tossed aside for a brief window of time where the world is your oyster and fate your only comrade.  Where skipping down the street between your two long lost friends – ‘spontaneity’ and ‘youthfulness’ – is your staple joy to pass the time, all that you need aside from your daily meals to find fulfillment.  It is the freedom of daily choice, of open possibilities, of approaching the unexpected bumps in the road just to see where it may lead, that fuels my incessant hunger for travel.

Some people travel for the allure of escape, of ‘leaving all their baggage behind’.  The reality is that this is rarely achieved; those who are running away seek sanctuary from themselves, and they will never find it traveling – for this is the medium that best unveils the fading fresco of the true self.  Traveling is a self portrait.  It is a voyage of self discovery. The experiences you have along the way are individual brushstrokes that depict a portion of your being.  If you are fraudulent with your interactions, your painting reflects that – your brushstrokes will quiver, distorting into a crooked wretched portrayal of something you thought you wanted people to see.  A person must approach life with an authenticity, explore the world with no parameters of who they think they should or should not be, engage in community unaffected by what people do or do not say about them.  They must act as they were naturally born to act; and that is how the masterpiece will be achieved.  I hope someday in my ripe old age, if someone were to see my portrait, the fresco of my life, they could say – “that person looks like they have seen a lot of action.”  I hope that it would look like someone who could be large by acting small, who could say a lot with few words; who knew the forest and children’s laughter, who showed kindness to others with subtle quiet gestures… like someone who believed in treading lightly upon this earth to fully hear its heartbeat, rather than the stomping of one’s own feet.

Have you found your true self?  How would your fresco look?

Photo by unknown

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Filed under Culture, People, Self discovery, Society, The Deliberate Life, Travel