The true healing power of Yoga can only be found by slowing down, learning to feel, and concentrating our attention inward with love.
Yoga is a complete system of movement, breath & meditation. Each part feeds the other.
We use the breath to move the body, we use the body to invite the breath into all the nooks and crannies to wash and nourish every part of us. To do this fully, we must slow down - take our time and feel. Feel our breath. Feel our body. To truly feel we must be empty of agenda. We must be able to meet our body-mind-heart exactly where it is, and with such kindness and curiosity. This slowing down and feeling is the secret to healing.
When we slow down and feel, we are concentrating. We are consciously choosing to focus our attention inside. This is a very different kind of concentration than writing a report for work or concentrating on driving, which are external uses of concentration. In true Yoga we are invited to slow down, feel and concentrate inward with loving attention.
This practice naturally primes our body-mind-heart for meditation. After we have moved and breathed and turned inward and rested, then we sit quietly. We are ready to relax even further inward into the Source of our Love and receive the gifts of the quiet heart.
In the Quiet Heart is the deepest healing. In the Quiet Heart daily thoughts, judgments and worries do not exist. By resting here in meditation as often and as long as we can, we heal our emotional wounds, our fried nervous systems, and our fatigued minds.
There is a catch phrase in the healing world "feeling is healing". If you want healing and healing connections in your life - notice when you could move more slowly instead of rushing and pushing. Tuning inward is the beginning of all the gifts of Yoga and the connection to true Healing.
There is a lot of research coming out these days showing the power of silence to heal our brains and nervous systems. What happens if we find some quiet time but our thoughts are still loud and driving us crazy?
This article was circulating around Facebook a few weeks ago. Very interesting stuff! http://www.lifehack.org/377243/science-says-silence-much-more-important-our-brains-than-thought
The research on silence may dove-tail with the abundant research on how meditation heals the brain and nervous system. Perhaps one of the main healing components of meditation is just the silence itself. Finding some quiet time - no phones, computers, radio, other people - that is a good start!
Now, actually intentionally sitting for meditation is different....
Because when we sit for meditation we realize that although the environment around us is quiet, our thoughts are really very loud! Constantly talking, judging, analyzing, projecting, computing, worrying, creating, dreaming.... There is a famous analogy in the Yogic tradition likening our mind to a team of crazy wild horses pulling a carriage every-which way. Seem familiar?
Is it even possible to quiet the mind? The answer is YES! But not by stopping your thoughts. It is by refocusing your attention on the Heart that deep inner silence is found. Think of this practice as Heartfulness. Heart-fullness instead of Mind-fullness! By focusing on the very deepest most loving Source of our own Beingness - we connect with something deeper, slower, more open and spacious... The deepest healing lies within.
Nicole Becker is the founder and lead teacher at Ojas Yoga Center, El Cerrito and a teacher of Heartfulness Meditation. She teaches regular weekly yoga classes and offers private yoga & meditation instruction. Join her upcoming retreat "Wisdom of the Quiet Heart | Spiritual Yoga Retreat", Sept-15-18. Details here