How yoga helped me to be a better father.
I was new to the practice of yoga, but in my first class I had gained some significant insights into the reality of me. It was a profound awakening, to borrow an overused cliché. I was hooked and couldn’t wait to continue on that newly discovered path. As significant as my first class was, though, the subsequent classes I took changed everything. Then again, that is the point, isn’t it?
During what was my third yoga class, the instructor used the phrase “finding your bliss” in reference to the true inner self – the divine core – as I understood it. Now, I am by nature a little wary of what I consider guiding language, that which I perceive is meant to lead me somewhere before I have a chance to think about where it is I am being led, so when I first heard it I cringed a little. She was discussing the five levels within us from the superficial to the Prana on down to the “bliss”. Given the fact that my first two classes had been a real watershed moment in my life, I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and play along.
She discussed our “bliss” briefly as we went through the poses during that night, giving a bit of context to what would be the culmination during Shavasana. My two previous experiences during this ending rejuvenation had truly felt like I was given just a fleeting glimpse into what could be. I was peeking through the keyhole of the door yet to be opened. I had been awed by those moments and was eager to see where else I might go.
As the lights dimmed on this third night and she escorted us through each level of ourselves, I drifted deeper and became more aware, all at once. The instructor stopped speaking and just allowed us to travel within once she had spoken of the “bliss” level. What happened to me then I have found difficult to communicate to my friends who do not practice yoga, but I have found those whom I have told that do practice react as if I am describing how I tie my shoes (I go single bunny ear). Lying there, in that silence, I found myself hovering just above rippling water. As I flew higher, the water changed to a great pine forest and I was serenely gliding just above the tips of the tallest trees, controlling my flight, intentionally craning my neck to watch each tree in amazement as I flew over. My concentration sometimes stuttered during this “flight” and my mind would wander to other random thoughts, though the forest always came back. During one such stutter I even consciously questioned whether I was still in yoga class and quickly opened one eye. Confirming I wasn’t dreaming later on that night, I closed my eye and was right back in the forest. OK, maybe this “bliss” wasn’t just the marketing gimmick that my callused and surprisingly (to me) closed mind had told me that it was. Maybe just because I was unaware of something to that point didn’t mean I had the right to judge or discount it. I left that night with quite a lot to consider.
Published in: Family