Nearly six months ago, I began to plan the next chapter in my life: graduate school. The news that I would be a MFA student on the dance performance track at the University of Iowa was new and wonderful! Yet this also meant I would have to leave the grand city of New York that had become my home, my friend (sometimes my enemy!), and my life. We have all experienced the overwhelming feeling of a new journey soon approaching. With thoughts bouncing from one side of the brain to the other, organization becomes extremely hard, and stress tends to set in.
The physical side of yoga can be such a benefit to our bodies and minds, helping us maintain a sense of stability. We can begin to uncover deeper layers of ourselves as we connect body, mind, and spirit into one cohesive being. After my goodbyes in New York, I traveled Europe throughout the month of July. I found it difficult to find time for my practice, asana in particular. There never seemed to be enough space or enough privacy, and I simply lacked motivation on my travels. I found that with the void in my physical practice, I dove further into my meditative practice. Traveling seven hours across Europe on multiple occasions just may have its perks! But as we learned in our training, both our physical and spiritual practice guide us towards a more balanced life – that place right in the middle.
Now as I sit here and reflect on this year, last year, and what the future may hold, I can only smile. It seems to me that a continuous circle of life is drawn for each of us, and I just completed another orbit. The trick becomes how we find the ‘middle path’ along our circle, and even more importantly, understanding that when we stray, it’s okay. Rather than letting ourselves Frogger this way and that continuously throughout our days, the simple (or not so simple) act of allowing our bodies and minds to breathe may just allow us to keep flowing with each moment, in the moment, falling into that middle stream of our circular path.
In B.K.S. Iyengar’s book, Light on Life, he explains that the yogic journey is continuous; that throughout, you will discover layers (kosas) of your being. With patience and persistence in our practice, we can develop our minds and better understand ourselves and our situations in the world, with maybe a little less stress along the way. Whether a major life event has seemingly built a barrier on your yogic journey or not, it’s never a bad idea to dedicate a little bit of time each day to breathe and just be.
- Melanie Swihart