Wake up and Feel the Bliss Flowing!

It is NOT selfish to devote some time to developing personal qualities such as inner peace, contentment, and unconditional love for your SELF. Even if you have five kids who have special needs, or aging parents in nursing homes, or a dying dog, YOU NEED TO SPEND TIME developing your spiritual life. And if you haven’t figured out yet that yoga is a spiritual path — whatever religion you ascribe to — well, then it’s time to realize the bigger picture! Wake up and feel the grace, baby :-)

If you want exercise, do aerobics, go for a swim, ride your bike, pound the treadmill, or dig in your garden. True, you CAN do a mess of sun salutations, work up a sweat in power vinyasa, but remember that these are supposed to the means to an end: to greater mindfulness of this moment, and to a connection with the universal.

Most long-time practitioners have stories of when others noticed the change in them. This morning, one of my students remarked that folks had commented upon how she had changed during the past few years. The change correlated exactly with the time she began yoga study, which these particular acquaintances did not know. She’d grown softer, not so much on the offensive all the time, more loving.

We seem to need permission though to nurture ourselves. This is one of the primary reasons students come to class: to be reminded to love and honor themselves.

Some of us have grown up with the notion that it is selfish, even immoral to give ourselves what we need and want. We should only think of others’ needs. Only when we have done all we can to help others achieve what they need.Then, and only then do we fulfill our needs . If there is time or energy AFTERWARDS, then we might think of ourselves.

One of the key tests of whether or not a spiritual practice or a teacher is worth pursuing is if you can see RESULTS. (More on the qualities of a worthwhile teacher in a later post). You might want to ask students in a prospective class, what changes they have noticed in their own lives or in the lives of classmates.

We create intentions to live more peacefully, truthfully, less greedily, BUT we don’t just think about changing; if the intentions were meaningful, we DO take at least baby steps on the path to perfection: liberation from suffering. If we are not feeling the bliss flowing more often, if we are not able to breathe and slow down or stop emotional twirls, if we are not able to stop frenetically DOING and relax into BEING, more often than when we began practice, it might be time to search a new teacher, class, or practice. We need to be in a state of growth and that growth should translate into a more loving, compassionate, and happier life.

How did you learn that your practices had changed you? Are you still evolving?

3 thoughts on “Wake up and Feel the Bliss Flowing!”

  1. When I first started going to yoga classes, my prime motivation was saving my knees–I’d gotten seriously into biking in my mid 30’s and, having never been athletic growing up knew nothing about stretching, and could tell that I was right on the edge of seriously hurting myself. Then, gradually, I found I could get a lot more out of it than just healthier knees. So, ultimately, if people go to yoga classes just for the exercise, that’s perfectly cool with me, as they may just discover, as I did, that there’s a lot more that they can get out of it than a “yoga butt.”

    Just yesterday, I was thinking that one thing that really marks a good yoga class, and the yoga community, is a sense of kindness and openneness–and by that I don’t mean teachers talking about kindness and openness, or reading sutras about it (though that’s all good, too, as long as it’s more than talk), but the actual practice of kindness and openness that I see and experience with the teachers and yoga folks I know (I’ve heard horror stories about drill instructor yoga teachers who insult people for being fat, or “big stick” teachers who spout rigid dogma, as well as yoga students who belittle each other, but, fortunately, I don’t know any of them….the teachers and yogis I know really do their best to walk the walk…even if we all fail sometimes). I find that “yoga friends” have become kinds of a special category within my circle since, in many cases, they’re people I don’t see much outside of yoga class, and, with whom I may have little in common–but that’s part of what makes these friendships special–that they’re based not on shared tastes or opinions, but purely on wanting to be supportive of one another…and how cool is that?

    So, anyway, to answer your question, I think the main thing my yoga practice has done for me has not necessarily been to make me more kind, but to be more open to expressing the kindness that’s in me.

    YogaforCynics’s last blog post..Falling Apart Like Poorly Molded Jello

  2. I’ve been meaning to leave a comment on this post for a little while now. And I’m kinda annoyed Jay got here first, because he’ll accuse me of being a blog post commenter stalker. When really, its the other way around! ;)

    “We create intentions to live more peacefully, truthfully, less greedily…”
    And you know what, as the cliche goes, you have to start with yourself before you can really benefit other people!

    Its been so long since I started doing yoga. And I’ve changed in so many ways, its hard to qualify.

    Great post… :)

    Svasti’s last blog post..Never-ending nightmare

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