I just got off the phone with my dear friend and fellow yoga teacher Lynne Graham. Some of you may remember Lynne from the lovely practices she taught the Yoga for Wise Women class as she was completing her teacher training.
Lynne is one of those people who continues to learn about and delve more and more deeply into the study of yoga. In our conversation, she explained she has come to see problems that arise in life as opportunities to motivate further study of yoga, knowing the philosophy and practices of yoga hold insights and healing for challenges we experience. It is a way to approach positively what might have felt like a large obstacle.
As she labored over planning for a yoga class, Lynne explained, she decided to give up her usual routine of drinking coffee, recognizing that coffee was not helping her, and perhaps making the planning process more difficult.
I understood exactly how unfocused the mind can become after having too much caffeine. Rather than connecting more deeply with the tasks at hand, my mind is on caffeine is like a fly, buzzing here and there, landing briefly, then buzzing off to alight on another thought. Even without caffeine, I have found myself, from time to time, distracted, thinking answers to my problem lie outside myself – in a book, if I find the right page, in notes if I can only find them, in a website – any place other than within me. This kind of search is usually fruitless, just another distraction, really, from focusing on what I need to do.
Breaking from her coffee routine, Lynne decided instead to do some chanting, a breathing practice, and meditation. What she found was that this new approach yielded a focus, a certainty of direction for the class she would be teaching.
Her insight – beyond the immediate planning for her class – was to realize she already had the knowledge she needed. And, the way to access that knowledge was to make space to go within. This is the intention of our yoga practice: letting go of the distractions of the mind. In doing so we can come to see ourselves more clearly. In observing ourselves with greater clarity, we come to know ourselves, which is the goal of yoga.
Our yoga practice, done over time consistently, illuminates a path leading us to look within. It is where we can find answers, as well as peace, and faith. It is a going home.
Thank you, Lynne, for this reminder.