Have I told you lately how much I love you?
My friend, who also happens to be my teacher, sometimes calls it “Kissing The Mat”… And, oh, I do love that expression. I have not been on the mat too much the last little while. (I blame the Olympics… LOL!!) Much like a devoted Catholic avoiding Mass, I feel the lure and draw of rolling out my length of prayer-filled devotion if I have missed my practice for too long.
What’s that? Oh, yes… I pray on my mat. Without getting into the religious aspect and argument too much, yogis pray through their practice. It might sound unconventional to some, it probably sound flaky to others. It can conjure up ideas for certain people that we (we, as in people who practice yoga) are just a bunch of chanting, stretchy-pant wearing weirdos that bend and contort their bodies into unnatural shapes for “Transcendental Enlightenment”. (By all means, please say that in your mind the way Apu from The Simpson’s would say it… Because I do!!!) We are seen by many that it’s a trendy thing to do. After all, Madonna (I’m talking about the Madge before dating a young Jesus and getting her ghastly rope-arms) proudly announced her love of the practice, long before her devotion to Kabbala mysticism. Many flocked to impromptu yoga classes, hoping to become one with her ideology, and perhaps vainly wanting to be able to say “Oh, yes, I practice yoga….” to their much-oblivious and perhaps ignorant friends.
But here’s the thing. Yoga is not just about the postures, the poses, the asanas. Yoga is so much more than I can ever explain to you. Yoga is so much more than getting a fantastic ass from holding Warrior Pose for a minute each time.
Yoga is a connection between heart, body and soul. Every time I roll out my mat, the end result is not so much the physical well-being, but my spiritual well-being. The bonus, of course, is wicked definition in my muscles, looking good in a bikini, having a hot ass and knowing it. And truthfully, and humbly, I accept that that is a huge means to the end in my own life. I have an ego. I admit it.
Ironically, through my yoga practice, that is what I am learning to overcome, among many, many other things in my own Self. To reflect deeply inward. To become more aware. To love more. To appreciate and let go more. To honour myself and others more. And, wow. What an amazing trip that is. To acknowledge my own weaknesses and be totally okay with it….. Call that God, Buddha, my inner blue pearl, the Universe, Love, The Beloved… whatever name you have for it, it’s found it’s path to me through my mat. I am a much kinder, more forgiving person this way. I am stronger. I am more humble and accepting.
And yeah. I chant. I sing OM with a chorus of others in my class. The resonance it stirs in my heart is very much like a Gregorian chant in an ancient cathedral, so much like a rousing rendition of a hymn sung in a southern church, so much like Natives in a pow-wow. The end result is the same. That the sound echoes in my heart, it levels my peacefulness. It simply is a chord that brings awareness to my soul.
It’s not for everyone. But selfishly, I wish it were, so that the joy and abundance I have received from my practice could be experienced by everyone.
I will leave you with my favorite mantra. Sung by Deva Premal, it’s called the Gayatri Mantra.