No matter what style of yoga you do, you will leave class feeling better than when you walked in. And if you look closer, there’s something else happening as well. It gives you all the benefits of an exercise class, but it does something more. Yoga points you inward. It slows you down. It focuses your mind, calms your breathing and draws you deeper inside. Whether you realize it or not, yoga is giving you your own Self.
I teach Svaroopa® Yoga, a way to use your body as the entry point to inner change and transformation. This works because your body is more than merely physical matter; it is made of Consciousness, the essence of all there is.
In Svaroopa® poses, there’s no forcing or pushing to “make the pose happen.” Instead, your body is well aligned and supported, a compassionate precision which fosters the unfolding of a stage-by-stage progression of internal changes. You rest in a space of grace. The poses provide a laser-like decompression of your spine, melting fears and resistances away. When your body is tight, without even realizing it, you feel small and contracted. Especially when your spinal tensions release, your mind and whole sense of self expand into an internal spaciousness. Yoga calls this an experience of capital-S Self. These inner openings are amazing!
Swami Nirmalananda describes it this way: “The most powerful changes are on the inside, the opening of your heart, your mind, your experience of your own inner divinity.”
Yoga expands you beyond your mind’s limited idea of who you are, opening you to a deeper level within yourself. As your spinal tensions body dissolve, your mind becomes quiet and something else opens up inside. I remember my first experience of this at the end of a long Shavasana (yoga’s relaxation pose). I was floating within a space inside that felt bigger than my body on the outside, being aware of both at the same time. This made me wonder, “Who am I, beneath the layers of my persona?” While I was still being “me,” including being a mom, wife and daughter, in some deep place within, I knew I was more. I had found “svaroopa,” the Divinity of my own Self.
Our world is full of natural and man-made wonders, but nothing can compare with the inner realizations of a yogi. These can be revealed within the stillness of a yoga pose, studying the ancient texts and, most powerfully, through meditation. When I first looked out upon the Grand Canyon years ago, its great silence and depth took my breath away. I felt so small in the face of its enormity. Now, when I sit in meditation, I settle into the space behind my mind and experience that spaciousness, quietude and depth. The difference is, I am not looking on the outside. It’s a big difference.
Sometimes yogic realizations blossom forth from within when you least expect them. You may think you understand something with your mind, but there is always more to discover — beneath the surface of your mind. As Swamiji says, “The most powerful changes are on the inside, the opening of your heart, your mind, your experience of your own inner divinity.”
As amazing as the yoga poses make your body feel, don’t settle for anything less than the inner blossoming of your own Self. Then you will know yourself in a new way, with clarity, freedom and joy.
OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo nama.h
To your inherent Divinity, again and again I bow.