Whole Life Magazine

December 2018 / January 2019

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December 2018/January 2019 15 M y experience as a teacher and student of yoga is that the center of our being is a cradle of infinite wisdom; knowingness within a realm of timelessness; a birthright of calm; a reservoir of love without boundaries; and the place where mind, body, and spirit are informed by the ritam, or "rhythm of the cosmos." The center of our being can be found in many ways. For example, I have used religious, spiritual, and secular methods to find my center. I have called upon God, Jesus, and Buddha; chanted to Shiva, Ganesh, and Kali; meditated on mountains, in deserts, and near oceans. I have also sung, danced, played music, and invoked the spirits of my ancestors. The search for our center is an inner journey which presents opportunities to intimately know balance and peace. The suggestions below are means to merge with the innermost self, a region within the body ancient yogis named the atman in some texts, and the Anandamaya kosha, or "bliss sheath" in others. I am now reminded of what my first yoga teacher taught me many years ago: "Go within or go without." That said, if stress arises during this holiday season, perhaps go within. If regrets over the past year surface, or anxiety about plans for the new year become overwhelming, perhaps go within. If this is a time of uncertainty or transition; or if old thoughts, conditioned behaviors, and limiting beliefs seem insurmountable, perhaps go within. SILENCE When noise ceases, experiential knowledge supersedes intellect. Quietude stimulates concentration and comprehension. Amidst silence, a sense of interconnectedness with all things forges a path toward the center of our being. What to do: Set aside times during the day to turn off the TV, radio, phone, and computer. Choose moments each week to refrain from texting, talking, and emailing. Sit in stillness. NATURE Nature is reliable and devoted to purpose; its consistency is trustworthy. Nature is a gauge by which thoughts can be realigned. Groundedness is established through communion with nature. When the integrity of nature is revered, awareness of Oneness becomes a pathway to the center of our being. What to do: Go outside, touch the earth, swim in the ocean, take a hike, work in a garden, and enjoy the sun, moon, and stars. YOGA Yoga practitioners connect to the center of our being through mental, physical, and spiritual stimulation. For example, standing pose tadasana, or "mountain pose," cultivates solidity and stillness; sitting pose sukhasana, or "easy pose," allows for discovery of patience and presence; and supine pose savasana, or "corpse pose," offers the opportunity to learn humility through surrender. What to do: Take a yoga class at a local studio/gym or practice at home with a DVD or online class. CANDLE MEDITATION When a candle is lit, a drishti, or "focal gaze," can be utilized to contemplate the flame. The eyes can then be closed and the image of the flame can become a point of focus within the mind (a yogic process known as trataka). Attention will shift from physical sight to inner vision; the center of our being can be accessed during this transition. What to do: Find a quiet spot and light a candle. Focus on the breath. Anchor this meditation in the present moment. PRAYER Prayer strengthens the energy of mindfulness. Prayer can be offered aloud and in silence; sitting, kneeling, and standing; communicated in solitude and among spiritual or religious friends. When prayer is utilized for sacred relationship, connection to the center of our being is made. What to do: Pray to a higher power of your own understanding. Speak from the heart. Brian Hyman, RYT, is a yoga and meditation teacher, writer, and father. He works extensively with yoga and addiction recovery. Visit www.brianhymanyoga.com. 5 Ways to Find the Center of Our Being By Brian Hyman ALLEVIATE HOLIDAY STRESS yoga Photo: Courtesy of Brian Hyman

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