• Emily Shain

Yogic Inspiration

Through years of daily, dedicated yoga practice, I’ve been gifted experiences and tastes of truly transcendent yogic moments. One of the first happened in Bali, during my stay at an ashram high up in the Balinese mountains of Tejakula. We were led through visualization: a walk through nature, which eventually turned into a fly through nature. In that moment, I was not seeing myself fly, but I was experiencing a state of flight. Another transcendent moment took place during a long seated meditation while in my Yin Yoga TTC in Ericeira, Portugal. I had never felt my body so still, as if I wasn’t physically present. No pain or physical sensation for that matter. Only the energetic length and height of my spine as if I was suspended by a light string and detached from weight bearing in any possible direction. This stillness allowed the breath to flow freely and wildly around. I was both observantly disconnected and loudly connected to everything all at once. And there was peace there. In Mysore, I found myself high on life after a few consecutive days of backbend intensive classes. Opening the chest and bending the upper and middle back is a vortex full of feeling happiness and vitality, the esprit of what life is in its best moments. I was so positive and full that I could have hugged the cows walking by the Indian vegan cafe where I would sit after class. (Instead I was distracted by each slow bite of Thali going into my mouth). And I’m writing this because one of these moments happened to me this past week, during a regular morning of self-practice. Perhaps sharing such special, personal moments with others could seem to take away from their majesty and meaning, but I’m choosing not to think so. Things stay magical as long as we choose to keep them that way. I have nothing but inspiration to share here. Along with the reminder that daily practice of what you love will get you to feel more free and alive. There are moments and phases in life and in your yoga practice where it all seems dull, drowned in unmotivated motions. As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her book Big Magic, “If inspiration is allowed to unexpectedly enter you, it also allowed to unexpectedly exit you”. But here’s a reminder that your practice can surprise you every time you reach your mat and with each new rising of the sun. It can surprise you pleasantly, amazingly, wonderfully, divinely. So here it goes, a quick attempt at sharing; an attempt at putting words on experiences that can’t truly be captured by text—only by feeling and internal knowing. Don’t think too much about them—these types of moments are accessible to all of us but we must catch them at the right time, place, state of awareness and well-being. These moments happens to us, sometimes when we least expect it and if we’re lucky, when we need it most. It takes bravery and trust to write about them and send spiritual energy out there. So move through these kindly, please. Take them for whatever they are, to you, and don’t attach too closely. They aren’t for that. I share them in the hopes of creating a reminder that inspiration exists just waiting for us to grab the opportunity. To set the scene, I’ll share another of my favorite quotes by Elizabeth Gilbert. She writes, “All I know for certain is that this is how I want to spend my life—collaborating to the best of my ability with forces of inspiration that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand. It’s a strange line of work, admittedly. I cannot think of a better way to pass my days”. This winter, I’ve been meeting my friend Melina (also an inspiring yoga teacher) at 7am on a Tel Aviv hilltop overlooking the seawater. We’ve started this tradition of practicing super early in the morning, when only the birds are there as music. At first it was because we missed having our yoga teachers around, then it turned into a need to be close to nature, and then into a method of maintaining an inspired, deep self-practice. We do our own yoga, next to each other, feeding off of each other’s energies as inspiration. This past Monday, I happened to have a particularly strong, rooted, grounded, core and leg practice, allowing me to hold difficult postures for longer and be aware of every step of the process. At the end of the practice I woke up from savasana, eyes still closed, seeing a BRIGHT RED LIGHT. BRIGHT RED BRIGHT RED BRIGHT RED. I’m telling you, super bright and overpowering. The color red in the chakra system symbolizes the root chakra associated with energies of groundedness, contentedness, simplicity and stillness. It is the base of everything in our life and the only way energy can rise in a balanced way without dispersing excessively. In the meridian system, that I also find to be an inspiring lens towards life, red represents the fiery core energy. This energy symbolizes a sense of self, true esteem and power that allows you to move and hold back simultaneously to forge a directed, strong path. I don’t know why this moment happened when it did. Maybe it was because of last week’s rainstorms followed by Monday’s sunny skies and accompanying sense of gratitude. Maybe it happened because of the stores of motivation I received from attending the recent @taliasutra workshop she gave a few days prior in Yaffo. Or maybe it happened because I’ve been working hard and practicing towards the places I want to be, in and out of the body. Whatever it was on this Monday morning, an unexplainable thing helped me feel these qualities that I have been working towards, seeing them as light at the end of the yoga tunnel. I had been working so hard for this rooting, this contentedness, this ease of being and believing all at once. And then I saw it, in bright red, in front of my closed eyes. A glimpse of what I’ve been working towards here in front of me. Patting me on the back, hugging me for my efforts and exposing itself as present, as real, as tangible, even if only for a few timeless moments. I swear that once I “om”’’d and opened my eyes, I kissed the ground in gratitude. Thank you universe (or whatever grand force there is) for showing me that these moments exist. That searching for more isn’t out there, it’s always here, within, when we are ready to feel it and find it. I can remember all these transcendent moments clearly as if they all happened last Monday. And I know that typing them out doesn’t accurately pass on their magic—so spiritual and other they can’t be captured by words. But moments like this exist, in abundance. I promise they exist, even when they seem to have fled or gone into hiding. You have to be ready for them. Sometimes we think we’re ready but we aren’t just yet. So wait. Keep practicing. It’s all happening. It’s all on its way.