As we practice yoga, we are in search of healing, peace, joy, strength, and stability. We are looking for the easiest way to tap into these feelings on a regular basis, and that is through a sense of consciousness. Consciously knowing ourselves helps us to make better decisions, because we know what we truly want and or need. Recently I am feeling a little heartbroken, but since I am trying to deepen my commitment to a yogic lifestyle, I want to handle this pain differently. Meaning, I don’t want to let it control me. I want to take what I have studied in yoga and apply that to my life.
So I have been wondering as people looking for a conscious lifestyle (hello, fellow yogis!) how do we deal with pain in a conscious, real way? I knew the answer was right in front of me, but I couldn’t find it. I have been asking the question over and over again in my mind: how do I deal with this pain like a modern day yogi (and not my spoiled inner child)? Finally, it hit me! I got a glimpse into the power and true accessible nature of the first principle of Anusara Yoga.
This principle is known as Open to Grace – the meaning of which is endless. It offers the first step of any practice to be an opening – opening to the possibilities that there is a greater energy or story than the one we often feel attached to or caught up in. It is a foundational principle that supports every other aspect of our lives and practice. This principle encourages us to find peace, and perhaps joy, by opening to Grace.
I have studied Anusara Yoga for years and I have found that this is no easy task, and there have been many times in my journey with Anusara that I have felt disconnected from this principle. In the past it has seemed overly optimistic, and then I met Desiree Rumbaugh. Desiree is a Certified Anusara Instructor who I recently had the privilege of studying with. Desiree held the space of someone who had truly searched for the essence of this principle both on and off her yoga mat. She talked a lot about melting your heart and the deep exhalation that allows for this physical and emotional release.
The physical aspects of Open to Grace include the ideas of Inner Body Bright and Outer Body Soft. We often spend so much time focusing on getting bright or full, having the best pose or the brightest smile, that we forget how much effort it can be to get soft, to let go and be at peace. It’s been a few weeks since my time with Desiree, but I have been thinking about her teachings, specifically about the power of the breath’s exhalation.
When pain comes into our lives we can either try to ignore it, which usually allows us to push it into our subconscious and eventually effect us on a deeper level than we realize, we can bask in it, which often leads to depression, or we can trust that our struggle is a side effect of deep rotted patterns that we finally have the ability to let go of.
I have realized that while there are days when I feel down or depressed, I finally have something that I have never had before: I don’t feel lost. As I try to deepen my understanding and practice of this principle, I realize that trust in the universal is actually trust in myself and my path. What we gain is a sense of meaning. As we find trust and meaning in our struggles, we find that there is no reason to feel lost. We are simply part of a larger energy; we are connected to a greater flow.
Love & Gratitude,