October 2016

“Look Deep Into Nature and you will Understand Everything Better” – Albert Einstein

Nature has been my source of adventure, my source of inspiration, and my source of healing for as long as I can remember.  I have used this quote over the past year with intention to spend as much time as I can outside.

Nature and all of her elements hold the essence of connection for me and while there have been many times that I could have easily avoided going outside, I have discovered, that my intentional immersion into Nature has proved to be a great source of inner peace and contentment and as a result an outer presence of compassion and empathy for others.  I might even say that looking deep into Nature actively going deep into the woods, or far out on the Ocean has been a source of looking deep into myself to greater understand my own true Nature.

This, to me, is  yoga.  Yoga invites us to take a similar path of looking at the essence of who we are to understand everything better.  The Yoga-Sutra’s of Patanjali provides us with a template, a step by step guide to lead us to our true Nature.  I believe that our true Nature already exists, these practices are means to clear away the mud and the murkiness that covers the light.  Luckily, just like Nature, the practices are readily available and the spiritual practices can begin at any time.  “Atha yoganusasanam”  Now begins the practice of Yoga….and Now begins the practice of Yoga….and  Now begins the practice of yoga.

The practice of ‘Now’ as described in the first Sutra is an auspicious meaning indicating “at any given moment” we have the opportunity to take to path of understanding.

As is Nature.  Now is the time to go outside.  Just as the practices are readily available, so is Mother Nature.  I was positively reminded of this recently after a weekend of Yoga Teacher Training.  This weekend was particularly heavy with a various emotions and a call to support each other as peers, students, friends and teachers was at its strongest.  I had a moment during the weekend that I stood back to observe the mutual support that was present and became aware of how lucky I am to be on this path of yoga and a witness to this love, care and support to each other.

When the training was over, I went to the seaside. I walked through the trails and climbed the rocks of Duncan’s Cove.  I became mesmerized with the families of seals playing on the rocks and in the water just a few yards away.  They were joyful to watch.  Some were pausing in stillness on the rocks, as if we were sitting in silence together. Others were bobbing up and down and playfully riding the waves.

 

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As I watched each seal respond differently to the waves, I was reminded about the power of play as an integral practice of yoga.  While we practice yoga to understand the true Nature of ourselves, this requires a great amount of discipline balanced with intentional pauses and play, as the seals naturally demonstrated this evening. Each wave of life is an opportunity to look deeper…and when we pay close attention to the wave, we can skilfully choose how we respond in a way that speaks to our true Nature.

Just a few hours ago, I was observing yogis supporting each other as the waves of life came crashing down, merging into the Ocean of reality.  Now I stand by the seaside, observing the seals playing.  The presence of the Ocean and the power of play could not speak to me more clearly.  It was as if Mother Nature was speaking directly to me, inviting me to stay a little bit longer.  To connect, to listen, to observe and to play.

Thank you dear Mother Nature for this reminder.  Sometimes the waves crash.  Sometimes the waves roll.  Sometimes the waves ripple…we are in this Ocean of life, may we continue to ride the wave and support each other and playfully riding the waves along the way.