My beloved child, break your heart no longer.
Each time you judge yourself, you break your own heart.
You stop feeding on the love, which is the wellspring of your vitality.
The time has come. Your time.
To live. To celebrate,
and to see the goodness that you are…
Do not fight the dark. Just turn on the light.
Let go, and breathe into the goodness that you are.

By Swami Kripalu:

Most people are interested in beginning Yoga as a solution to physical issue or to achieve goals such as regaining flexibility, losing weight, healing injury or recovering from pain.  Others maybe experiencing significant distress or disruption in their lives and are seeking to regain some balance, ease or deeper healing. As their struggles have persisted over time  many can begin to judge themselves harshly. They come to see themselves as fundamentally defective or flawed. Recovering confidence in ourselves and our ability to change is the first order in business.

The story of our body as revealed in our Yoga practice can be a springboard offering opportunities to work with ourselves in all areas of the Self more compassionately and skillfully.

As I work with people therapeutically or in a class one of the first things that is important to communicate need is that a body that is truly fit and functional is designed to able to perform a variety of activities. It thrives on the demands placed upon it. We are not fragile and are normally well equipped  to achieve the tasks of our lives. The muscles, bones and joints of the body have specific primary functions that enable us to live our lives as we are designed. Things can and do change for us at times, however. Not in the innate resilience of our bodies and selves but in how the accumulation of physical and other stressors and imbalances can put undue pressure on us. Over time the residue of incomplete development, old injury and compensations, professional and personal lifestyles can ask us to use the body in ways for which it was not designed. Even if nothing is done to restore proper function we can compensate to meet the demands of our lives for weeks, months or years without their seeming to be a problem. Over time our bearing can get further muddied as the individual “kinesthetic sense” that give us the inner feedback of how things are supposed to be in our bodies begins to contrast markedly from the “design sense” of just what actually should be happening. However, violating the basic design of our organism generally does catch up to us. Often in retrospect, we can see the body has been  communicating all along that something is wrong through all those nagging aches, pain and other conditions we attribute to aging, injury or accidents. It’s just that we have lost the trust in our ability to decipher these messages.

In the realm of Yoga and Wholistic therapy our ultimate responsibility therefore, is to interpret its messages as they unfold to fix the problem. With the seeming complexity of this scenario and the fact that our society, from the medical establishment on down is looking elsewhere for solutions, just how to do this is the remaining dilemma. In our Yoga practice the poses themselves can give us this window into how our body is working. The invitation Yoga gives us to consciously attend to proper form in movement and posture turns up the feedback of inner experience. When we release struggle, force and self  judgment and rejection we can hear this message even more clearly before dire consequences are brought to bear.

We honor the “edge” of our Yoga poses when we encounter our limits of movement, strength and attention with compassion. Here we can come to learn the discrepancy between our individual and design kinesthetic sense; more and more we come to know in each moment how what we feel is in our bodies does or doesn’t corresponds to what is supposed to be happening. If we can avoid an overt or unconscious overly athletic approach to practice, override the pitfalls of pride or attempting to conform to a some external image of what a pose should look like or what should be happening, our adjustments in our poses become more subtle, accurate , and intuitive. Our physical practice aligns itself with the higher Yogic aim of restoring ourselves to full function and well-being in body mind and spirit. From this deepening faculty all the other endeavors of life can be transformed into an extension of the idea of all of life is meditative(aware) process.

A Simple Meditation to Appreciate The Subtle Aspects of Experience

The following meditation is from the Kundalini Yoga tradition. According to Yoga it supports a growing appreciation of the subtler aspects of life and enhances the intuitive sense. This meditation may deepen the your appreciation of the beneftis of the physical practice of Yoga and enhance the experiences of your life.

***Sit in a cross legged position(easy pose), Your spine is straight and with the hands face up over the knees with the tip of the index finger touching the tip of the thumbs(Gian mudra).

***Allow your eyes to close and feel the delicate pulse sensed at the index finger and thumb.

***With your eyes are closed focus you gaze gently at the third eye point(Ajna Chakra), the space in the forehead between the eyes.

***With each pulse say the mantra “Sat Nam” inwardly. Sat Nam means “truth is my name” or “true identity”.

***Continue for 3 minutes as you begin, longer as you feel able and benefitted.

Though this is generally a simple and safe meditation discontinue if there are negative effects, anxiety or other symptoms. Always practice in accordance with the recommendations of your Doctor, therapist or other health professional with whom you may be working. Seek the help of a professional as needed. As always in this great work on ourselves it is important to accept full responsibility for all you choose to do. For more information see the website Disclaimer.