Sunday, November 18, 2012
Y is for...
This is the second to last entry in my alphabet game. If you want to read them all, there is a link on my side bar under the Stuff About Me heading but you'll have to scroll down all the way to the bottom to get them in the proper sequence. Not that it really matters.
Y is for...yellow, yarrow, youth, yoga
Y is for yoga
I was introduced to yoga when I was 20 years old...I think. It could have been a year or so earlier when I was initiated into TM (that's transcendental meditation) when I was 19 but I don't really remember any instruction in yoga, just sitting in the group sessions or alone at home with legs crossed trying to ignore how uncomfortable I was becoming. The meditation thing didn't last long with me. I was only successful with it a time or two. Mostly I just fell asleep or was fidgety trying to focus on my mantra til the time was up.
But the following year, the year I lived in Chicago, some friends and I hitch-hiked to D.C. for the anti-war rally and we met some folk who were involved in Ananda Marga, a meditation group with a different spiritual leader than TM. I had become disenchanted with TM early on because they were very much about the money. They charged you to be initiated into their organization.
In D.C., my boyfriend and I had become separated from our friends and we were waiting, had been waiting for a while, at the designated 'meet up again' spot when we were approached by a couple of guys offering us respite and an eye out for our friends.
They offered us food and water and a bathroom and rest, united us with the rest of our group and found us a ride back. They asked for nothing in return. Neither did they try to convert us or entice us in any way but they were so serene and selfless and kind and you name it and so we learned some stuff about who they were. Which I am not going into now because this isn't really about them.
It happened that there were only three teachers in this country at the time who were qualified to initiate anyone into their 'meditative' life and one of them lived in Chicago. So one evening found some of us at the home of an Indian man and his family while he talked to us about his spiritual leader and meditation and yoga and then he led us in some simple yoga to relax our bodies and he initiated us one by one into meditation with a mantra. I don't remember if it was all on the same night or if it was the second time we went but what I do remember is that while he softly spoke to us, his aura expanded with a bright white light until it filled the room. Seriously. It was awesome.
My friend and I continued to go once a week for a while but we had to take the train out to a suburb and it was in the evenings because the man had a regular job and then a few months later I moved back to Texas. I did not become an adherent to the Indian guru but I did retain the yoga and the mantra.
Even though I've never been able to develop a daily or even weekly home practice I find yoga to be very beneficial and it's one of the things or habits that I attribute my fairly good health to. It keeps you limber and agile and strengthens your muscles. It massages your organs and helps them function, it rids you of toxins through measured breathing and teaches you to pay attention to your body.
I have used meditation and yoga sporadically as needed or as opportunity presented itself in my life. For the past 20 years or so I have been involved in one or another weekly gatherings with a teacher, though not always every week or even every year.
My most recent weekly get together was in the home of a wonderful amazing woman who would lead a small group of friends in yoga and meditation. Alas, she moved to New Orleans to be near her daughter and her family.
It's been over two years now since I have done any yoga on a regular basis and I can feel the difference. Out here though my options are limited so I best find a way to set aside a little time one day a week at home if I want to continue being able to get up off the floor.
Not that I'm on the floor a lot unless I'm doing yoga.