When I first started going to yoga classes, my body was completely inflexible, I had no clue what the Sanskrit terminology was all about, and I spent most of the class looking around to make sure I was doing the poses correctly.
Despite my lack of yoga knowledge, I kept coming back, primarily because I was always anxious to hear what the yoga instructor’s message would be. Sometimes it was a poem, sometimes it came straight from their heart, but no matter what, it always seemed to speak to me.
I now know these spiritual or philosophical messages are referred to as dharma talk, and yes, sometimes they can seem a little like a sermon. Buy hey, at that point in my life the teachings of yoga were exactly what I needed to hear.
Fast forward a few years, and now I’m a yoga teacher delivering my own spiritual messages and teaching students who are new to the practice of yoga. I can tell that many of these students have the desire to quickly gain the flexibility and knowledge of the practice. There is so much I want to tell them, so many incredible lessons for them to learn on their yoga mats, but it takes time and patience and the ability to let go.
Imagine my delight when I found this beautiful poem from The Poetry of Yoga Volume 2 titled “Blossoming,” which I will be sharing and threading into the themes of yoga classes.
by Janet Arnold-Grych from The Poetry of Yoga Volume 2, page 41
In the beginning,
With each unraveling of the mat,
We are anxious to add to our garden,
To gather the beautiful buds,
And coax each asana to open quickly.
Feet in the dirt we stand,
Sometimes for the first time,
Connecting earth to muscle and muscle to sky,
The energy of an immense lineage
Pulsing with promise.
But as the poses settle,
As we settle,
We find that yoga’s true gift is not about more
The outline of the poses remain the same.
Yet when the space between is fed,
When ease replaces expectation,
When patience replaces petals,
We find that the asanas are no longer
About holding on,
But letting go.
And in that release,
Without judgment or force to impede,
Breath floods in,
Releasing the mind and freeing the heart.
That core of serene nothingness,
And learn that in letting go,
We gain everything.
If you are a lover of poetry, a lover of yoga, or a yoga teacher looking for inspirational poems to weave into your dharma talk, you must check out Volume 1 and the about-to-be-released Volume 2 of The Poetry of Yoga (available 12/12/12).
The newest addition, which was lovingly edited by artist, poet, and yogi HawaH, includes over 500 beautiful pages of poetry written by yogis from around the world. Amongst the collection you’ll find poems written by MC Yogi, Tommy Rosen, Kia Miller, Angela Farmer, Seane Corn, Hemalyaa Behl, Ana Forrest, and Dave Stringer.
As if that’s not already cool enough, by buying either volume of The Poetry of Yoga you are giving to others because 50 percent of proceeds are donated to the non-profit organization One Common Unity, which provides inner-city youth programs that teach peace education and the building of a non-violent culture through music and art.
My copy of the first book of poems is already completely dog-eared with all my favorites, and I’m sure I will be pulling inspirational passages from it and the upcoming volume for years to come.
Stay tuned for more information about the 12/12/12 release of The Poetry of Yoga Volume 2 and your chance to win a free copy!
New to yoga? Want to give it a try in a relaxed and friendly environment? This January I’ll be teaching 5-week beginner’s yoga class series in Richfield, Akron, and Vermilion, Ohio. Please see my yoga class schedule for more details.
Check out my latest post over at Elephant Journal - How to Live an Awesome Life