Sit down and be quiet.


SilenceI’ve been finding it hard to get to my mat lately. I’m teaching, but my own precious practice which has been my constant and my best friend for more than 15 years, has gotten a little up-staged by all the other things I love or need to do in a day.

This felt OK for a while, as I was nourished by other things… but last week it really hit me. I felt like I had lost something. Something very subtle, almost indiscernible, but incredibly precious at the same time.

That thing, or no-thing as the case may be, was my Self.

While I was regularly describing this beautiful Spacious Presence, All-Merciful Awareness, Unconditionally Loving, All-Embracing Being that Yoga shows us how to recognise and rest in, I wasn’t making enough time or space to rest in it myself.

Funny that I’ve just used the words ‘time’ and ‘space’ as these, the sages tell us are nothing but mind-made constructs with no inherent Reality to them anyway! The Self simply is, inextinguishable, ever-present.

But knowing that intellectually, and actually being able to rest in the Self, and as the Self, are not the same thing! While hearing the truth and reading the truth will very likely accelerate our chances of actually experiencing the unconfined nature of our Soul, for the majority of people it’s a process of unveiling that takes time and practice.

We really need to be still sometimes. To be quiet. To witness. To give space to the contents of our minds… to just sit and let our thoughts both bubble up and disperse, without taking them personally. The more we do this, the more that witnessing becomes our habit. And whilst we might be feeling something very deeply, the charge of emotion quite strong, still, we can relate to something within us that is absolutely OK. That knows it can contain whatever extremes of experience that life has in store.

But lately I’ve been feeling really pressed for time.

I’ve been adjusting to a new and changing routine, teaching at the times that I would usually practice.

Keeping up, almost, with the demands & delights of being a self-employed Yoga teacher running classes, retreats and workshops, as well as all the business that makes that possible. It’s a lot! I remember a time when we just taught Yoga, but now we have websites, blogs, FB pages, Instagram accounts, and God knows what else to manage!! (Have we all gone completely mad?!)

And while I’ve been very happy exploring other dimensions of existence – nesting back in my home country, relishing in home duties, and finding the sweetest satisfaction in cooking for friends & family, still, for me there is no substitute for a little quiet time alone.

Even the succour of a loving relationship, whilst allaying much of the loneliness that my practice used to, can never be expected to replace what is the source of that Love in the first place.

There is absolutely NO SUBSTITUTE for my relationship with Self, with the Divine, with Silence… call it what you will, for me it’s the sweetness that makes my life worth living.

And the best thing about prioritising that extra-special relationship, is that it only ever improves upon all the other relationships and interests that I strive to juggle.

Our ‘practice time’ might be two hours, or it might be ten minutes. It might have us sailing through the Advanced Series of Astanga Yoga, or simply lying over a bolster or putting our legs up the wall. It’s important that we have realistic expectations that are self-loving and achievable in light of all else that we need to do in a day (I’m feeling all the mamas out there!).

It takes just one spark to light the fire of the Soul, but constant maintenance to keep it burning. Our practices are like the wood that it hungrily consumes, inspiration the wind that keeps it licking and dancing in space!

Far from being selfish, it’s my belief that peace in this world will only ever be possible when each of us takes responsibility for our own heart flame – doing what’s needed to keep it burning bright, and walking away from whatever puts it out. Easier said than done. But what a worthwhile challenge.

May we all, in time, come to know the true meaning of  Love.

Om Namo Narayani

“If you could only keep quiet, clear of memories and expectations, you would be able to discern the beautiful pattern of events. It’s your restlessness that causes chaos.”  ~ Nisargadatta Maharaj