Restoring Your Spirit with Yoga

by Maitri Jones

It is amazing how many different ways we can push the pendulum of life, until it becomes very complex and stressed.  With so many pulls on our time … work, family, home, volunteerism …how do we ever think we could include time for a yoga & relaxation practice, no less sitting in silent meditation?  It seems so far from what the world tells us we need to do to have a meaningful life… The ideal life is held up as managing home and family responsibilities at the same time as devoting yourself to a rich social, community and professional life…Go, go, go…keep going out, reaching out, getting involved in more and more outer experiences.  Does it really work?

Where does the message of yoga to go inward to find fulfillment fit in with the today’s busy day-to-day living?  To the worldly mindset, building an inner life leads to selfishness, self-centeredness or self-involvement. It is true that we see the other extreme. We have all been around people who talk incessantly about their personal health issues and inner processing.  They seem to be obsessed with taking care of themselves to the exclusion of all else.  But this approach doesn’t bring them inner peace or happiness. Clearly that is not what we want to become.

Somewhere there must be a balance.  That is what yoga is all about…balance, unity and flow.

This past weekend I went to Crystal Hermitage gardens to enjoy the tulip festival. Besides the astral colors of the tulips, the spectacle that I found most awe inspiring was the two flowering cherry trees.  Every branch seemed to burst with blossoms.  So many flowers crowded onto each limb you couldn’t see any wood whatsoever.

As I bathed in the presence of these wondrous tree beings, I got the clear message…this is the abundance everyone is seeking.  After a winter of inwardly gathering and focusing their resources, now these trees had the strength to give, holding nothing back. They gave their all to create this magnificent show of pink splendor.

I left the garden thinking of how those trees give of themselves so enthusiastically. Their example makes me ask myself “How can I give more freely without losing my balance and centeredness?” These trees don’t seem fatigued or burnt out from making all those blooms.  They follow the rhythm of nature. This time of outward show will naturally give way to a period of inward rejuvenation.

Yoga and meditation offer us a way to tune into our natural flow and ability to regenerate ourselves.  Yes we can manifest abundance in the world, meet our responsibilities with joy and strength.  But not without first finding time for the inner processes that bring us strength…time to find our connection with the Light that animates all of creation.

Without this attunement to the flow of a higher power, our little efforts tire us very quickly and pull us in a thousand different directions. Through yoga and meditation we focus, become clear and tune into guidance that leads us to the most effective means of sharing in a beautiful relaxed way with loved ones, friends, co workers and our larger human family.

This process will likely bring us to more simplicity, just like the trees specialize in one kind of flower, we will have to choose to develop our gifts in a specific direction.  Do less but do it well.
Then we too can become radiant channels for beauty and service in the world.

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