Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The leap of faith

Saul David Raye is a yogi with a beautiful, peaceful and compassionate soul. The few classes I have been privileged to take with him have always been exactly what I needed at the time. His newsletter arrived in my inbox today, and once again, really spoke to me:

"I recently read somewhere a wonderful quote that really touched me. I have tried to relocate the source but have not been able to as of yet. It was something like this "sometimes the only next possible step is a leap of faith!" In my own life this seems to be all that is happening; whatever I know, whatever I have believed to be true is no longer working. When I make choices from my heart, from the inner wisdom and creativity that is in each of us at every moment, the results are amazing. The energy we set in motion when we are resonating at the frequency of our hearts is truly miraculous. Blessings along the path you walk...and to the leap of faith that you are being asked to make in your life right now!"
How did he know? :) My life, too, is demanding of me a leap of faith. I feel myself in one of those moments that define a life and cause it to branch off in a new direction, if I have the courage to make the right choice from the heart.

Once again, there is a parallel on the mat. From my asana practice, I am reminded of the lessons of Urdhva Dhanurasana, known in English as wheel pose or upward-facing bow. This pose for me brings a feeling of joy, even elation, and a rush of energy. Indeed, one of its uses can be to reduce depression. Being comfortable in the pose can feel incredibly uplifting. However, the pose is a challenging one, and has posed some particular difficulties because of my ongoing wrist issues, and because it is a fairly deep backbend. It requires a good warm up, and some strength and flexibility.

However, the main challenge of Urdhva Dhanurasana for me has been mental. Coming into the pose from a supine position requires an initial push to come to the crown of the head, and another push to straighten the arms. Although I have done this pose successfully many times, and it is one of my very favorite poses to do, I have also many times failed to find the strength - or perhaps the commitment - to come all the way up into the pose. Every time before the initial push I feel a great sense of apprehension and fear. It is very difficult for me to commit my energy and breath to lifting into the backbend. I have been doing this pose for several years, but it still requires each time a leap of faith to attempt it.

And the rewards are great. In this pose, with the heart open to the sky, the spirit soars.

I feel myself, in my life off the mat, lying supine, placing my hands on the floor above the shoulders. Taking some deep breaths.

May we all have the courage to take the only possible next step.


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