Posts tagged ‘light’

Return of the Light

One of my first winters in Vermont, I attended a solstice party, in which we all went from the warm and cozy house out into the very dark and deeply cold night, where we each took a candle, and lit it from the fire that burned outside (it had been set the hour before we arrived by our lovely hosts).

We brought our candles in to the hearth, lighting the fire in the fireplace (the house made cozy by the woodstove in the other corner), welcoming the return of the light.

Today, just after the solstice and just before Christmas and the New Year, I imagine the return of the light within myself.  As long as I have breath in my body, the light of the divine is always within me.  On my darkest days, I may not be able to feel the warmth of that light, or experience its brightness, but when I close my eyes, I can find it somewhere within me.

I imagine I bring that light–perhaps burning as bright as a bonfire, perhaps as tiny as the flame of a tealight–into my heart, reigniting myself in this winter darkness.

Solstice, the return of the light, as we journey, here in Vermont, towards the coldest part of winter.

Stay warm with your yoga practice, with the love of friends and family, and with the light of your own self, and your own heart.

Namaste.

December 23, 2010 at 6:24 pm 1 comment

Ahimsa

Someone in Vermont has a license plate that reads AHIMSA.  I see it from time to time as I drive around.  I’m always jealous that I was not clever enough to have thought of this idea–what better place to remind people to be nonviolent than in our cars (surely I am not the only one who has cursed at the car in front of me for driving too slowly when I am running late on my way to yoga class!)?

Ahimsa, which is often translated as nonviolence, is one of the yamas, or ethical guidelines, of yoga.  Although they each have a strange-sounding Sanskrit name, they are all principles we’ve heard along the way: to practice gentleness, and truth; to not covet the things or talents of others; to remember that each breath is a blessing.

The yamas are meant to govern our conduct with the world–the rules of the sandbox so that we can all get along with each other–but I’ve found it helpful to also think about how they apply as I interact with myself.

Am I gentle and nonviolent with my body when I come to my yoga practice, when I choose what and how much to eat, and to drink (ahmisa)?  Do I see my reflection in the mirror of truth, or do I allow it to be distorted by my own judgements, and expectations of what I “should” be (satya)?  Do I give myself credit where credit is due, stepping into the bright light of my own goodness (asteya)?  Do I pause to feel the satisfaction with who I am and what I have in life, instead of looking for what’s to come (aparigraha)?  Do I see the spark of the divine within myself, the light that shines out from my own heart–that piece of God within me (brahmacharya)?

In my classes, as in most yoga classes, we “Namaste” each other at the end of the practice.  This simple and beautiful word holds so much meaning–the light of the divine within me, recognizes and honors the light of the divine within you.

When we practice the yamas not only out in the world but also within our own selves, it is as if we are giving ourselves that greeting, Namaste.  I see myself as a spark of the divine.  I honor myself, in all of my grace, in all of my potential, in all of my perfection.

Namaste.

November 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm 2 comments


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