Every one of us has something special at our core. It is what is alive in us, our spirit, the source of all power. The same power has created the whole universe. Spirit is one, it is whole, and it is infinite. It has unimaginable possibility. At the Movement Center, the vehicle we use to make contact with spirit is called yoga.
The practice of yoga in all its forms is about a deeply personal experience of the ultimate reality--what we in the West sometimes call God. Yoga is about the ability to feel our spirit, under every circumstance, and to allow it to be nourished and grow stronger.
Whether we are practicing meditation, hatha yoga, or a ritual, there are three important skills we need to learn.
CONTACT, ALIGNMENT & FLOW
The core of the spiritual practice of yoga is to release tension and allow creative energy to flow. Creative energy, also called vital force, is the very essence of life. Tension is anything that obstructs the flow of energy. It exists in many forms: physical, emotional and mental.
We learn to release tension through the process of contact, alignment and flow.
The most basic skill in our spiritual work is making contact. Contact happens in two stages. First, we become aware of our body by bringing our attention to and feeling our breath. This simple act causes our body to become more relaxed.
Making contact, feeling our body, and breathing consciously, brings an increase in circulation of the blood and vital energy, called prana or chi. Becoming aware of the flow of vital energy through the muscles brings us in touch with the next stage of contact: fluctuation of our breath. If we follow the fluctuation of our breath, our mind will become quiet, and we will become aware of a deeper circulation of the energy through the chakras and the channels—what we call our subtle body. This is the second stage of contact.
After making contact with our subtle body, we work to align it with our deepest inner resource, the love that is at our core. Alignment puts us in harmony with this love. We come into alignment in our meditation practice by circulating the energy through our subtle body, guiding it with our attention. We let go of our doubts, fears and insecurities and focus on the love. From that alignment within ourselves, we let it connect us to the highest place in the whole universe.
The final step is establishing ourselves in a flow. There are two aspects to flow: one is the internal flow of creative energy or kundalini. Internally, making contact with our deepest self and aligning our heart and mind with the heart of God allows for this flow of amazing power to be unfolded from within us. In this process, we release strain and trauma in our physical, mental and energetic systems. We generate a change of state from within us that is profound and lasting.
There is also external flow, in which we extend our awareness into our environment. In the external world, we touch our deepest inner resource and extend it selflessly to the people whom we love. There is a flow from the breath of life out of us into the experiential world, and from the experiential world back deeply within us. This exchange gives rise to an experience of transformation that is a continuous learning experience for the whole of our life.
Working with a spiritual teacher is essential to connecting to and sustaining the flow of creative energy. Embodying the energy of all of the teachers of a lineage, the teacher's energy is expanded beyond the limitations of the physical field of existence and is, instead, a field of vital force. When the student connects to this field of vital force, the connection serves as the spark to ignite the student's own inner flame, an inner flame that will burn away all boundaries.
The metaphor of the well is often used to describe the teacher. The true teacher is neither the body or the personality, but rather an energy source, a total field of information from which we can draw. We need to stay aligned with and connected to that energy source. When we are able to do this, then the nourishment itself renews our vitality and energy. It washes away tensions and brings and a sense of fulfillment and well-being.