“I normally start with a theme or a story,” the yoga instructor said. “Today, I’ll start with a theme.”
And she went on to say that people tend to look outside of themselves, for things they think will make them happy, when all knowledge, all happiness can only be found within.
The purpose of Yoga, developed by the ancient Rishis of India is to prepare the body for meditation. The yogic exercises aid our awareness to turn inward, and help the body gain the suppleness that will help sit correctly and comfortably during meditation.
What with the house move and then Andrew’s death, I hadn’t meditated for months. Exactly when I needed it most to calm the tempest in my mind, like a criminal that does not want to be apprehended, my mind fought hard against any attempt to be subdued.
But yesterday dawned bright. The heavy rains and winds of the previous day had given way to blue skies and a strong sun. After only a few bouts of yes, no, yes, no, I got dressed and headed for the yoga studio.
Now I was sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat.
“Focus on your breath. Feel your chest expand as you inhale; and contract as you exhale. Feel your heart fill with light as you inhale and soften as you exhale,” the instructor continued with different breathing exercises, before leading us into yogic poses.
For the first time since Andrew’s death, I found myself relaxing. The breathing, the exercises, the atmosphere were soothing, and I found myself filling my heart with “Andrew.” There I held him safe and surrounded him with my love. I felt joy at being able to feel him in my heart and sadness that I could only ever see him in my mind’s eye, and a few tears found their way down my cheeks.
But by the end of the class, lying on the mat in Syvasina, my mind was calm and my body deeply relaxed.
When my friend Terri picked me up later in the afternoon to take me to see the Cloisters in Manhattan, I told her how beneficial I believed it would be, to teach children yoga and meditation from an early age.
“Look, I am an not extremist about anything,” I said. “I am taking antidepressants. But my point is that had I grown up with meditation as second nature, I wouldn’t need to take antidepressants now.”
“You mean that meditation could have reversed the chemical imbalance in the brain?”
“With meditation it would be unlikely that there would be a chemical imbalance in the brain, or any other imbalance for that matter.”
“I know that when I get angry, I have to go for a brisk walk,” Terri said. “It’s as if I have to get rid of this energy in my body.”
And on we went, talking about how thoughts have energy and energy doesn’t disappear but is transformed, and to make a long conversation short, I went back to my belief that if children were taught yoga and meditation from an early age, we would see a dramatic reduction in dis-eases, including suicide.
Don’t we owe it to our children and our children’s children to try this?
I think so!