I recently attended an evening yoga class at a small studio near me that holds classes outside on a large wooden deck.
I practiced next to a large tree trunk that emerged through the deck and the ocean air reminded me to inhale fully.
At the end of the class as I set up for savasana and stared at the open sky, I remembered these lines from Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind.
The ancient Greeks had a structure they called the temenos: a four walled enclosure with no roof. The warriors would come in off the battlefield and remove their armor to lie down on their backs and open their hearts again to the sky.
Laying there I felt like that warrior. I’d spent the previous hour removing the armor I wear all day long. The safe space I was in encouraged my body and mind to soften their constant gripping.
Without the weight of my defenses and the stiffness of my judgements weighing me down I found I could easily slip into the sacred space of my own heart.
Here in my heart it’s dark and I am alone, but somehow I’m able to see so clearly and I don’t feel lonely.
I say I do yoga, but really yoga is undoing all my doing. It unravels my tension, releases my breath, and softens my mental and physical gripping. It reveals to me who I am under my armor and my judgement. It polishes my heart and reflects back to me a capacity for love that I often forget I’m capable of.
In a world where doing is praised more than being, yoga as undoing is exactly what I need to become more present, more conscious, and a more authentic human being.