Last week when I was assisting and observing a yoga class, a palpable sense of peace and security enveloped the room. It was such a gift to be able to witness the integrated and quiet practice of other yogis set to inspiring music with sunlight pouring through the windows. One song really drew me in and focused my thoughts on the deeper meaning of the practice. The song became popular in the 80's and it's one we all know, by Cyndi Lauper, Time after Time. The version played in class was the slower, acoustic cover by Eva Cassidy. The refrain is, "If you're lost, you can look, and you will find me, time after time. If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting...time after time."
I thought about how we come to yoga to find our true selves, to connect to our essence. When we come to class, or when we come to our mats at home, or really in any moment of the day when we come back to ourselves and make a connection, then in that act we are showing up for ourselves. We are leaving everything else to the side and reconnecting with that part of ourselves which never changes: our light, our essence, the true self. This is a great comfort and source of strength, knowing first of all that we have an immovable, eternal part of our being, and secondly that we have a way to connect to that part anytime, and whenever we need it most. "If you're lost, you can look, and you will find me. If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting." I saw people looking deeply, and finding the true self, balancing in a posture and catching themselves if they fell out of it, coming back home to themselves, eyes closed, during savasana. And they have done this before, and they will do it again, time after time.
I thought about yoga, and the meaning of the word: union. Generally we think of the union of mind, body and spirit, and the unity we seek with one another and sometimes with a higher power. But on this particular day, right before Valentine's Day, when I heard this love song I thought about union within the Self. I thought about the wholeness we experience when we connect the parts of the fragmented Self and experience the essence of our being. For me, that is yoga.
We read and speak often of mistaking the false self for the true self, the ignorance that is referred to in Sanskrit as Avidya. Through our practice we are confronting this ignorance: we are moving from the false self to the true self, from the gross to the subtle, from darkness to light. Sometimes this feels like a struggle, and it can also look that way from the outside. Other times it feels sweet, it feels like peace, it feels like coming home. However it may feel for you today when you practice, try to find that sense of connecting with your true self, with your essence, and take comfort in being there for yourself...time after time.