I always say in my teachings of yoga, “to name it is to lose IT .”
What is this IT that I refer to? It’s my deepest desire to communicate something that is beyond intellect and reason of thought, but has a quality of IT that arises into a pure felt experience. An experience that loses the little mind of reason and words into an empty space of pure being.
The confines of language and words limits my unlimited space of pure existence. I get in my own way by trying to ever explain to the intellect. How difficult teaching yoga becomes without the gift of feeling the somatic experience of just being present. My words only create an imagination or memory linked to what my little mind knows.
In other words, my limits are learned through my living in this body and mind. I have no understanding of what might be possible without the practice of letting go of words.
Try to sit and relax. The mind will wander into conversation of words. There always exists an inner communication that holds the mind from falling into the focus of simply being present to the feeling of the breath. There’s no outcome to the conversation. We think too much. We need to feel more.
To name it is to lose it. When teaching yoga, we must use the physical body, asana, to bring the mind into feeling. Then, by adding breath to the movement refines the focus, and bringing in sound allows thought to drop into pure awareness. A sound that the mind can purely feel. Vibration has no language; energy has no limits.
Language has great power. Watch the frustration of a baby without words. To misuse words can be harmful and yet to speak the truth can cut like a sword.
Where does thought arise from? Does it arise from my fear and inner need for survival to preserve my life? Or is something greater tapping into some inner landscape? Without words, there arises within the invisible space a beckoning, a pulsation that awakens IT, a pure inner knowing that has no words to give definition to it.
My role as teacher is to share these ancient tools. I must use communication skills that I have learned; and yet, it is my vibration of energy communicating love. My heartfelt enthusiasm is not to change anyone, but to inspire the possibility that we might be prisoners of our learned habits, thoughts, patterns of family blood, and beliefs. These are the walls created and formed to hide and protect our true self, and we might suffer trying hold on to them.
But what if there is a gateway into our inner wildness? To journey into a new frontier of possibility by listening of our soul. To go beyond confinement is to rediscover and connect to IT. To belong to life, and not the confinement, can be a lonely journey since the world colludes in holding up personas and habits of bias opinion as walls. Our own walls separate us from each other in forming true bonds of friendship, regardless of gender, social economic or race.
We always say that we know our yoga practice is working when our relationships are improving. To be courageous takes energy. To have energy takes the desire to let life in. And to let life in, we must be willing to let go. It can be painful to sit in uncertainty. Yet this is the gateway to the soul. By looking into the wildness of our inner frontier, we can drop the armor of protection and become kinder to our selves.
When we stop projecting outward, we accept our learned behaviors with forgiveness. A true friendship is a powerful presence in helping to see the prisons within, to inspire without judgement, to shift the landscape from outer to inner, and to support the journey with compassion. A true friend trusts the soul to find the light, to loosen the grip and open the way for grace to unfold. The Celtic word for this is “anam cara”, soul friend.
I am on my Celtic journey next week for a retreat in Ireland with an amazing group of friends, who have welcomed the desire to let go and embrace a sacred path home to the self. The teachings of yoga are my gifts to share, but the experience is open to the mystery of what will be revealed to each of us. That secret landscape is inviting and I hear the call.
Please listen to your inner knowing and remember that our words can trick us into staying confined in the familiar. Be willing to listen with your heart and go forward in love. Our yoga community is the welcoming of all soul friends to feel, be seen and embraced.