When our family took a trip to India over 10 years ago, the experience was life changing for all of us. From the moment we landed, a rush of sensations, horns, smells and colors, a sense of overwhelm and chaos woke us up!!! Initially the experience was disorienting, our world felt turned upside down, opening our eyes to new ways of seeing and being.
The most amazing transformation was for my husband, a careful and thorough family doctor who regularly tests the fire alarms. Imagine this same father in India watching a car crash into a building his family passed just seconds before. Perhaps this was the beginning of his surrender to trusting the order behind the chaos. For months after we returned he was a changed man. The best words I could us to describe him were delightfully giddy. One day I finally asked him what he attributed his shift and he said with a smile on his face, “there were no seatbelts in India. I realized I had to surrender and trust”. This absolute vulnerability broke a lifetime of beliefs around creating control, and unleashed a huge reservoir of joy and newfound freedom in his life.
What I discovered was a different flip- the paradox of outer chaos and inner peace in India juxtaposed with the inner chaos and outer peace at home. The sense of devotion in India was palpable and it was life changing to feel the connection between peace and devotion. In hindsight, I can’t help but wonder if the faith that is woven into the fabric of Indian culture supported and fueled both of our transformations.
The Sanskrit term for faith, shraddha, appears in the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra (1.20)
Samadhi (the state of pure awareness) can come through faith, strength, memory, concentration and discernment of the real from the unreal- Translated by Swami Satchidananda
“Shraddha comes from two Sanskrit words: shrat (shrad), which means “truth” or “faithfulness,” and dha, which translates “to put or place; to direct one’s mind toward.” Shrat is also a precursor to the English word heart. Assemble these meanings and they tell you that faith blooms when the mind directs itself toward a deep-seated truth—a truth arising in your heart.
Acts of the heart take us beyond (or beneath) everyday thoughts and feelings. They ground us in the fundamentals of life—supplying us with direction, hope, and resilience.”
From Finding Faith in the Spirit of Yoga
YOGA INTERNATIONAL DECEMBER 16, 2013 BY ROLF SOVIK
Our theme this month is trust and we are exploring inversions or poses that take us upside down. It is no coincidence that the barrier to experiencing both inversions and trust is fear. When we feel fear we grasp for control and look for our seat belts! In contrast when we cultivate the strength in our body, mind and spirit to move from a place of trust we have a newfound freedom in our lives
In order to safely move upside down and into inversions we need to know how to create alignment from our root, belly, heart, throat and all the way to our crown. To do this requires strength, flexibility and awareness or discernment about when we are aligned. With steady practice we learn to trust that we can go upside down with so much ease that it feels like flying. Over and over again when students first experience this sensation they exclaim, “I feel so free!!” Seeing life upside down and from a new perspective is invigorating.
The word surrender and trust are often used together and in our language surrender is usually associated with weakness. Can you imagine anything that requires more strength than surrendering to trust? Time and time again I witness in our students and myself how a consistent practice creates the strength and discernment in body, mind and spirit to live with the freedom found in trust.
Join us this Saturday to practice this trust through the exploration of inversions with Nathalia. This workshop is open to all levels of experience and especially for those who think they cannot go upside down.
Looking forward to practicing with you!