Winter, the long sleep. A time of "going within" and connecting with deep rhythms. Nature is our teacher if we're willing to watch and listen. Nature demonstrates a season of silence, blanketed with snow, suspended animation; the life force pulled inward and focused at the point of connection with life source. Life becomes quiet.
We too, can learn to become quiet. "Going inside" and focusing our energy on our point of life source within ourselves is where we find our personal connection and quietude. Yoga is a pathway to that inner connection. The breath is the "guidance system," keeping us aware of the path. The body and the breath move together, inhaling creating movement and expansion; exhaling allowing extension and relaxation into the poses. The rhythm of the breath, the expansion and relaxation cycling with each other reflects a microcosm of the cycle of summer and winter in nature. We are part of that cycle, our rhythms are the same.
Sitting quietly, our attention on our breathing rhythm, we can follow our breath to access our own internal rhythms and focus on that place of quietude within ourselves. We can create an awareness of that place of "winter" inside where our own energy is gathered and we experience a sense of connection to our life source. There, in the silence, we can relax, heal and gather life force. Its through our awareness of our connection to life force within us that we may consciously create our lives. The creative source of all nature lies within us, too. It flows through us constantly. We can choose to direct it consciously as we focus our awareness through our inner quiet. In that place, we gather the energy to carry us along into the coming "summer" cycle of expansion as it comes around again. Withdrawing and expanding, rest and action, inhaling and exhaling: yoga is about balance.
A person whose life is balanced is relaxed. A person who is relaxed is open. A person who is open is more loving. A person who is more loving is more peaceful, and a person who is more peaceful brings peace to the world.
Susan Winter Ward, internationally recognized yoga instructor, author, and video producer, is the creator of Yoga for the Young at Heart™, a multimedia publisher which publishes an informative and inspiring collection of CDRoms, videos, audio tapes, books and television programs, as well as exciting vacation retreats. Her product line is available at: Yoga for the Young at Heart
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