an article about Yoga in a real estate magazine?"
originally appeared in IbiCASA magazine.)
by Nora Belton
There is nothing so basic
in life as a house, a home. A solid structure that provides protection
and comfort. We lovingly take care of it, make it beautiful,
and it is our refuge, the place we wake up in and come back to
every day. Human beings reside in houses. And the human soul
resides in the human body. The physical body is our home, our
temple. A seeker once asked a Master, "Which is that temple
that I can go to and worship?" and the Master said, "This
very body is the best temple, is the highest temple of God."
Everything we experience
in life somehow takes place through the physical body. We "know"
with our bodies, our minds and our hearts. The Asanas, the postures
we practice in Yoga, "speak" to every level of our
being. Yoga is the practice for our time. It is at once medicine,
support, guideline and refuge. It releases, strengthens and comforts.
popularity today is testimony of its agelessness. And I believe
that there is no "right" or "wrong" yoga,
only "effective" and "less effective" yoga.
As the Dalai Lama profoundly stated, "Every country has
its favorite cheese." So there is a Yoga practice that suits
every temperament. I always recommend that people "yoga
shop" until they find a teacher and a style that feels right.
In Ibiza thats easy
on an island renowned for fostering
individuality, no two teachers are alike.
texts like Patanjalis Yoga Sutras, the Upanishads and the
Bhagavad Gita describe all the "how's and why's" of
yoga, the "dos and donts". Interpretations
can be strict or loose, but the only life-style that risks clashing
with Yoga is an unhealthy one. Ultimately one is drawn to choose
between the "all-nighters" and the detoxifying efficiency
of their Yoga practice.
a complete science, but every part of the whole carries the seed
of that wholeness. Whatever branch of Yoga you choose to embrace,
be it Karma Yoga for the active or service-oriented type, Bhakti
for those who function from the heart, or Jnana for the intellectual
type, all roads lead to Rome, as it were. So although there is
an abundance of literature on Yoga philosophy, you dont
have to be a book worm to imbibe the teachings. Devotional chanting
(a favourite of mine), opens the heart. But you neednt
be musically inclined. Being able to meditate is described as
the ultimate goal of the physical harmony that results from the
Hatha Yoga practice, but you can start wherever you want, "a",
"b", "c", or "all of the above".
My teacher and Guru for many years, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda
says, If you cant do all the practices, choose one
that you enjoy and do it daily, with devotion, and it will bear
lessons and the benefits are inherent in the practice itself.
A gentle clearing takes place on mental, emotional and physical
levels. Its a kind of alchemy. Some effects are immediate;
Ive often begun a session in a foul mood, and ended in
bliss. Other effects are slower to come, but enduring. Either
way, it feels like magic.
SPIRITUALITY AND PHILOSOPHY
In order to have a spiritual
outlook you dont have to be physically fit, but for me,
the process of realizing my physical potential is a spiritual
one. Yoga philosophy teaches us to see God in everyone and everything;
it helps us to find and recognize the Self; to honour the Self;
and it gives us tools and understanding to be in the world,
how to manage ones life, duty and responsibilities with
compassion, tolerance and efficiency, to fight ones own
righteous war as referred to in the Bhagavad Gita;
to experience peace in a tumultuous world, and to be happy. The
warrior described in the famous battle epic is a happy one.
Hatha Yoga practice develops
a sense of freedom within a physical body that epitomizes our
state of being bound by a material existence. We
come to recognize and appreciate how the elements of nature work
through us and within us. The session or Yoga class flows to
a rhythm of activity and passivity, movement and rest, imitating
the pulse of life itself.
The practice of Hatha
Yoga represents the effort and the will that ultimately reunites
us with the part of ourselves that is eternal. It is the form
that leads to the formless.
my practice I have had glimpses of a higher consciousness, and
something ineffable that always encourages me to be in
the world but not of it. With time, Yoga has evolved in
my life from being a familiar and intelligent form of physical
exercise to a permanent connection with a sense of self-respect