We practice in the light that which we wish to remember in the dark
By Bridgette Flint
Very few humans, if any, escape suffering in their lives.
And whilst this is not something to dwell on, it is comforting to know there are ways to help us when darkness descends, in whatever form that may be – physical, mental, emotional or a combination of these.
If we take advantage of learning these ways during times of light when all seems well in our world, we build the resources and strength to face our “dark night of the soul” or difficult times.
Yoga asanas (postures or poses) teach us tenacity and endurance - to continue holding the pose, without judging or complaining, with poise and controlled breathing. If the pose proves difficult in yoga class, then home practice gives us the confidence to know that with effort and consistency it will become easier. The same mindset applies when we feel challenged by life. It is important to keep going. To be tenacious. As an ancient Sufi saying goes, “This too shall pass”.
Yoga teaches us how to relax and let go of stress, depression and anxiety. By combining mindful breathing and movement, the poses activate physiological systems in our bodies which help to lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). The effect of stress on our bodies is well known, and when we are in the darkness, the effect is magnified. We cannot think clearly from this place.
Yoga is gentle. It allows us to release our inner critic, and know that we are doing our best. It teaches us to nurture patience and self-compassion for ourselves and others. It teaches us to balance our thoughts and emotions.
Yoga teaches us to go inwards and find that unshakeable inner presence, our peaceful and stable centre. When we are relaxed, we become more self-aware, and from there it is so much easier to make well thought out decisions. We feel more ease in our lives.
Make the time and effort now, in the light, and commit to building your yoga “toolkit”. Not only will your present life become more easeful, but you will be able to face the dark with confidence.