Recently I had the rare privilege of attending a Yoga Retreat in Bali. It was an opportunity to spend time nurturing myself in a beautiful and safe environment.
What I learned from this experience was in the quest of happiness I look for external drivers to what essentially is and internal function. I observed the Balinese People who from my perspective whilst living in poverty and hardship but maintaining a high level of happiness. They were loving, generous and always smiling. This initially did not make sense to me. How could they be happy? They did not have big house, nice car, good clothes, well paid job/easy job, money or exotic holidays.
I sat in this question, sort wisdom form others on how this can be. I found out that the Balinese people exist within a cast system and also daily spend time honouring their God and being grateful for their existence. What this ‘system’ had done either by fluke or by some design from a universal source was a people who were not “wanting for more”. They were essentially comfortable and happy with their current position in life and realised they could not change, and therefore not continually striving for more.
I had been guilty of the opposite of this. Saying to myself when I get a bigger car/house, take a better holiday, find a better career, have better relationships, lose weight, or have more money I would be happier. Only of find when I get these things I am happy for a short while but the feeling soon wanes!
Yoga for me, directs my feeling inside or internally. It shines the light on me and emphasises I am responsible for my own happiness. It gently directs me to resolve my personality/ego and then happiness comes easily. A daily practice of meditation through Yoga reminding me of this leads to a sense of gratitude, love and forgiveness. Also it reinforces my connection to a greater source whether this is God, The Universe, Jesus or Buddha it does not matter. It is a formulae for happiness.
At the moment do I have the discipline to complete this daily practice? No but I am getting closer and now know the correct path which has taken me a long time to find!
Practically speaking, when we are stiff in our hips and hamstrings our knees and ankles are ‘punished’. At some stage it is better to be accountable/aware of how to work with our hamstrings and hips so that the knees and ankles are able to get on with their work. It’s also the case in twisting poses that people twist into the flexible areas of their spine and in doing so completely miss the area that needs to be ‘accountable’: we are slipping around a stiffness and there will be consequences.
Our yoga classes for children have been running for 4 years and some of the feedback we get from parents and also teachers is amazing and encouraging. Children experience stress for lots of different reasons and yoga helps them to 'discharge' it through physical movements and also through breathing exercises and meditation.
When we go camping, we sit in awe of the magnificence of the mountain, the oceans, the sky. We go there because we recognize that some thing changes within us when we sit quietly within the wonderment of nature. We say "I am different", "I am happier", "I am energized", "I am more content". When we practice yoga we learn to sit in the wonderment of our embodiment. It is our microcosm of the macrocosm of nature. We recognize that being in the power of our own presence is a practice of being at one with the forces of nature.