Yoga, Meditation, And How They Make Us Better Humans
The first time I heard someone say "yoga saved me" it seemed overly dramatic. I felt the benefits of yoga in all areas of my life from the very beginning, but I couldn't imagine feeling that strongly about it.
As my practice grew over the years, gaining more importance in my life and preparing me, as yoga does, for deeper forms of meditation, I'd hear that phrase repeated. And it seemed less strange.
In meditation this morning, trying to quiet my mind amidst the noise of life, work, and transition, I realized how capable I have become of doing just that. Don't get me wrong, it's not church quiet. It's more like a bustling library. Where friends greet each other with warmth and cheer, get caught up in a bit of conversation, then remember where they are, and smiling, go back to their focused activities without guilt or scolding or judgment.
To me, yoga and meditation are inseparable from each other, and from life. There was a time when there was a boundary at the edge of my mat, but no longer. As I dive deeper into my practice I gain the skills to dive deeper into life.
Giving myself permission on the mat, and on my cushion, to be freely where I am, to accept what I can't do and be grateful for what I can, has allowed me to do the same in life.
Practicing challenging postures when my body protests helps me move through life gracefully, even when it's hard.
Practicing stillness during quiet times helps me find it in the midst of life's storm.
I still wouldn't say that yoga or meditation saved me. But I might say they save me, a little every day. They remind me of what it means to be human. And I think they help me be a better one.
This post was inspired by, and is dedicated to, James Morley, Executive Director at the Krame Center. The Krame Center supports staff and students of Ramapo College of New Jersey, as well as the greater community, with learning and applied research in contemplative and mindfulness practices for the betterment and well-being of individuals, organizations and society.