New HorizonsMarch 29, 2008
Recognizing subtle changes brought about from your practice
Most newcomers to the internal arts are interested in some concrete goals they wish to attain thru their practice. What they would be surprised to know is that these goals tend to change as their practice matures. At first most yoga practitioners are looking for more flexibility and a feeling of relaxation after their first couple of classes. The real purpose of yoga will not begin to dawn on them for many moons.
Coming from a karate background, I embraced tai chi as a path to spirituality, however I was not quite sure what spirituality really meant. I stuck with tai chi for many years, when after the death of my instructor I started to yearn for something more. Up until that time my main accomplishments had been to develop the understanding of true relaxation of body and mind. Over the years my body had achieved the condensed connectiveness of oneness with itself. What I mean here is that thru my relaxation training I experienced the feeling of my whole body coming together as if it were a jigsaw puzzle locking in final place I was moving like a mountain. Each posture of the form was done with my mind in tan tien (my center of gravity). However my search for spirituality was unfulfilled.
At this point in my training I also started to focus less on myself and more on others. Without realizing it I was at the doorway to true spirituality. Going with my instinct I started to practice yoga and embarked on a search for a yoga teacher. My search took me two years. I found my teacher and he was only a couple of miles from my house.
With expert guidance from my teacher Alan Finger, I began to understand the true purpose of yoga. It was at this time that I started to manifest more changes in my life experience. Here are some of the changes I experienced and are still experiencing.
1) My whole psyche started to calm down. It was as if a calm lake was at the center of my body. My mind also experienced this calmness. Problems, which would have upset me years ago, disturbed me less and less. They were still there but they affected me less.
2) My thoughts that were usually good and bad mixed together started to manifest as good more often. I found myself acting on these good thoughts in my daily life experiences.
3) For the first time in my life I was comfortable with my self. I felt a sense of connection of body and mind.
4) I understood my direction in life and realized what I needed to do in the future.
5) My thoughts also started to slow down, and I was able to make decisions more easily.
The above examples are only some of the changes you could experience thru the practice of the internal arts. Mine are not necessarily yours. The best advice I could give you is to stick to your practice with a good teacher.
Real awareness of our spirituality is the experiencing of the relationship we have with the universe. This unfolds to us as we stick to our practice. Happiness dawns upon us as we maintain mindfulness.