Alison Cassidy (6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)
Like Any Other Day
These paragraphs begin the afterward of Donna Farhi's book 'Bringing Yoga to Life'. She expresses eloquently what I have come to believe after 24 years of continuous Yoga practice and teaching.
Does Yoga practice make life easier? Most assuredly, all that is onerous and cumbersome does not go away. Yet our once implacable desire for certaintly wavers in the face of something better: Living in awe, wonder, and delight. Life does not become easier; we become easier with life just as it is... We become less hindered by our past and less invested in our fantasies. Instead we begin to live with a sense if immediacy and lucidity that makes everything we encounter-good, bad and indifferent-illumined through awareness.
We practice on and off our mat to enlighten our living. Nothing has changed. Still the difficulties, the challenges, the moments of doubt, the evening time of aloneness.... Practice cannot and does not eliminate these extremes. What practice does do is give us direct access to an internal and ever-present refuge of peacefulness that exists inside of and despite all polarities. If our practice has tethered us to life, we stop feeling so threatened by all these comings and goings.... We thread our foibles and strengths side by side. We thread the seemingly incongruous nature of everyday life, full of awkward irregularity and irony, with our aspirations to clarity, calm and order. Threaded to everything, we can take delight in this peculiar and perplexing thing called life. We make it our task, then, to love what we cannot possibly understand by letting mind lie down and the wisdom of the heart take over.
Does Yoga practice change who we are? We remain exactly the same except for one extraordinary difference. We see ourselves and the world differently, for we see ourselves as the world, and in doing so we find we have less need to barricade ourselves from a perceived other. In dismantling these barriers of separation, we develop a fearlessness in relations to this largeness that allows us to step forward whenwe once held back. We see the same things, but now we actually notice what we see. We hear the same things, but now we notice what we hear. We feel, taste, and touch the same things but through an intensified register.
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