As you practice day after day after day, has it crossed your mind that your yogic lifestyle might be transforming you, deepening your connection with yourself and with the Universe and its energies? I have often wondered this.
I work full time as an accountant and have been practicing hot yoga about three years, which turned into daily 5:30 A.M. practice for about six months now.
I am also enrolled in a yoga teacher training program at the local community college. I have school twice a week: Monday is teacher training and Tuesday is a rigorous hour and a half Iyengar practice. I have not eaten red meat for about twenty years now. My diet consists mostly of vegetables and fish.
So with this lifestyle and practice, I’ve always wondered how I will be able to tell if I am doing the work which actually draws me closer to integration with the core of all being.
An answer was delivered to these questions this Thanksgiving weekend. I can only share the experience of what happened and how it happened for me. Maybe this experience will resonate with you, and encourage you to keep up the work. Transformation happens when it happens.
A Feeling of Joy
The story goes like this. My boyfriend and I were checking into Hotel St. Michael in Prescott, Arizona. We stayed there because it was near my sister’s house in Prescott Valley, where we would be enjoying our Thanksgiving dinner.
The hotel was built in 1902. At the entrance, there is a beautiful staircase that you can take up to your floor. Our room was on the second floor. The staircase has a large old wooden hand railing as it winds up.
We walked up once to check out our room then walked back to the car to grab our overnight things. As we traveled up the staircase a second time, I was loaded down with bag, pillow, and cozy home purple fuzzy blanket. I slid my hand along the staircase banister just to be safe.
As I hit the first set of stairs, I started humming the wedding march. I felt so much happiness and joy walking up these wonderful stairs.
When I hit the second set of stairs, I said to my boyfriend who was a few steps ahead, “I don’t know what it is, but I just feel that the loveliest bride walked down these stairs.” And that was it. I had the feeling, shared the words and let it go.
After a beautiful Thanksgiving supper at my sister’s, we returned to the hotel. I was tucked in for the night when my boyfriend stepped out for air. While he was out, he met a woman who had been working at the hotel for 22 years. She said it was the best job she ever had.
She told my boyfriend about the hotel’s original tin ceiling and then turned to the stairs and said, “I can’t tell you how many brides have walked down that stair case.”
It gives me goose bumps as I share it with you. My boyfriend returned to the room to share about his visit with the woman in the lobby.
Practicing for Union
So how does this mean my asana practice is working? To me, the point of asana is to learn to truly feel again, at a deeper, more intimate level. We practice to evolve. We practice for union. As all the layers peel away we integrate mind, body, and soul.
With this experience at the staircase in Arizona, I was given the gift of confirmation. What I felt was joy that had occurred over many, many years. My heart was open enough to connect with the feelings of joy that resonated from the staircase.
And so I say to you—keep going. Keep doing the work. Over time, transformation and overall integration within our self, with our surroundings, with others, and with the Universe will come. You will be given your own confirmations when the time is right!
by Robin Murphy - Robin has been practicing hot yoga for three years and aims to add a Sattvic diet and meditation practice in her yoga journey. She's currently working on her yoga teacher training certification.