Yoga: It’s All About Connecting

I recently attended a morning yoga class at Kripalu. Moments before it started, Siri’s voice spoke loudly from someone’s cellphone to say, “Sorry, but I’m having trouble getting connected.” Without missing a beat, the instructor replied, “Well, you’ve come to the right place. Yoga is all about connecting.” The wave of laughter that spread through the room definitely brought us together as a group.

Once the giggles quieted, we started doing warm-ups, and I pondered how yoga connects me on so many levels. As the teacher invited us to come into a side stretch on an in-breath, I noticed how the alchemical pairing of breath and movement is an especially potent connector for me. Breathing consciously anchors my awareness in my body, and once I start paying attention to physical sensations, the agitation and unproductive thought loops that often haunt me start to fall away. Emotions surface to be felt, unconscious material rises up to be seen, and I end up squarely inside my body—willing to really be in my experience.

But there’s something more that yoga does, something that isn’t easy to put into words, although it’s what I value most about the practice. When I can bring my whole self to the mat, it’s as if I reach inside to find what’s essential, true, and undefiled in me. I connect with something that isn’t disturbed by changing outer circumstances, an inner knowing that can guide me even when the going gets tough. I link to the mystery of presence that is both personal and impersonal, a North Star around which my being can orient.

As the class ended and I relaxed in Savasana, a flow of images flashed through my mind: a couple holding hands, a three-pronged plug in a wall socket, a bridge linking two sides of a wide river, telephone poles with wires leading toward the horizon. Then my awareness turned to intangible connections: love, empathy, compassion, the curiosity that keeps me moving forward.

How does yoga make all of these connections? Movement and breath are surely part of the equation. The intention I bring to my practice matters, too. And in this session, it helped that the instructor pointed out that connection is what yoga is all about. But it still remains a mystery to me how a tangible practice of postures and breathing can reliably bring me into an intangible connection with Self, spirit, and others.

As the class ended and we chanted om, I felt as if a shining thread connected all the layers of my being. I was grateful for Siri’s chance comment and how the instructor’s response seemed to open an inner door to my psyche that normally remains closed, maybe because I’m too busy to knock or turn the doorknob—until I go to a yoga class.

Find out about the Month of Compassion at Kripalu.

Danna Faulds, poet and yoga practitioner, has published six books of poetry and a memoir, Into the Heart of Yoga: One Woman’s Journey.

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