You may be wondering WHY I’m so passionate about yoga. Well, there are many reasons, but the one concept that threads through the entire yoga philosophy and practice is that it opens our hearts. And when we can do that miracles can happen. How exactly? Yoga gives us insights that help us see things more clearly and expands our hearts and minds, instead of clouding our vision with preconceived notions or assumptions. This shift in perspective---as Marianne Williamson says in her book A Return to Love---is a miracle. And isn’t this needed in our lives more than ever?
“A miracle is a shift in perspective.” – Marianne Williamson
Yoga has helped me shift my perspective in 3 profound ways it has taught me:
- To listen to my heart instead of my head
- To understand the value of impermanence, and
- To realize everything is interconnected.
These 3 lessons have allowed me to create more intimacy in my life, with myself, with others and with all of life. Creating miracles such as more fulfilling relationships and more peace and happiness in my life. I believe this practice will help you create miracles in your life too! Here’s how:
Yoga Opens Our Hearts
There is one profound experience I’d like to share with you regarding how listening to your heart versus your head can create miracles. Years ago during a yoga (āsana) class, I was in the middle of a very awkward pose. I don’t really remember the exact pose, but I vividly remember how I felt in it. I was in a standing forward fold and twisted into an odd position. I started giggling a bit because I was sure I looked ridiculous. The instructor purposely put us in this awkward position to make a point. As we were holding this pose for a few breaths, she acknowledged that we were probably thinking we looked silly, but she challenged us to not to worry about how we looked or how we think we should look. Instead she encouraged us to just notice how we felt in the pose and to focus on what feels good. Whether that meant to ease up a bit or push a little harder. She invited us to do what felt good to each of us individually and not to care what anyone else thought.
The moment I stopped worrying about what I looked like in this awkward pose and got comfortable in what I was doing, my thoughts went straight to another uncomfortable situation I had been experiencing in my life off my mat. A man had asked me a few times to go on a date with him and I kept putting him off. I liked him a lot, but I didn’t THINK I should go out with him---for a variety of reasons at that time---but I really did want to. After that experience in class I decided to listen to my heart and I agreed to go out with him. Exactly 3 years later we were married.
The reason I’m telling you this story is that I was 44 years old when we went on our first date. Prior to that I had not been in a relationship for 10 years. That “ah ah” moment showed me that when I listen to my heart miracles can happen.
Yoga Teaches Us About the Value of Impermanence
We have all heard the saying: The only things that are certain in life are death and taxes. Meaning, change happens ALL THE TIME. Many of us fear change, but yoga can teach us to handle change with more grace. It teaches us to truly appreciate the sweet moments of life, because they don’t last. And on the flip side, when things aren’t going well in your life, you know that won’t last either! Personally, when I’m going through a challenge or even just in a bad mood, when I take a few deep breaths and remember that “this too shall pass,” it helps me soften a bit and the negative feelings begin to dissolve so much quicker than if I keep holding on to the fear or pain of the situation. Impermanence helps us to wholeheartedly enjoy the good times, and helps us manage the down times with a little more grace. This shift in perspective is a game changer for me and has created many miracles in my life.
Yoga Helps Us Realize Everything is Interconnected
A teacher I greatly admire, Michael Stone, described interconnectedness perfectly: “…yoga means intimacy. The word yoga literally means that everything is intimately connected with every other thing, because there is no such thing as an independent thing.” Realizing that every thought, word and action I take has an effect on the world has caused me to be more mindful of what I think, say and do in hopes that most of my impressions on this world are beneficial. It makes me WANT to create miracles! Clearly, I’m not perfect and sometimes my thoughts, words and actions are not that skillful. But at least I’m aware and trying---progress not perfection, right?
I encourage you to take a moment to think about some ways you can shift your perspective and create miracles in your life. Please share in the comments below.