The Sweetness Of Meditation And The True Meaning Of Yoga

Rachel Cheng

The Sweetness of Meditation and the True Meaning of Yoga

Our bodies are so amazing. We have an incredible brain that can do so
much. It can perceive the world and imagine endless possibilities.
It can even control our breathing. Though we also can consciously
breathe, this effort is not necessary for our survival. A newborn
baby needs no lecture on how to breathe. Yet, when we grow older and
encounter bouts of stress, our chest constricts and the bounty of one
full breath is rarely experienced. Yoga can bring us back to the
simplicity of a breath.

After practicing asanas, my body is fully relaxed and my mind is calm.
In this state, I am better able to savor the sweetness of meditation.
Every now and then during the movements of yoga, I can feel my heart
open. However, I seem to experience more dramatic sensations when my
body is very still, such as in sitting meditation. It is in this
stillness that I explore the true meaning of yoga.

In the quietude, I am able to just observe my breathing without
forcing inhalation or exhalation. The breath is soft and yet full.
It moves me like the way the breeze gently rustles the leaves, without
urgency, with caressing tenderness. This breath fills my entire being
with peace and reaches into the deepest regions of my soul.
Unexpectedly, my heart opens up and it feels like golden rays of
sunshine warming the centre of my chest, expanding wider than my
physical body can contain. All boundaries fall and my heart feels
like it can reach out and touch the air around me. In these moments,
there is a deep understanding of my connection to the world. The
breath that I just inhaled may be the very same breath that you
exhaled a moment ago. In this same parallel, the emotions that you
are capable of are no different from the feelings experienced by those
around you.

Sometimes during meditation, I sense the despair of the world and
silently shed tears as I experience a realm of suffering that is
beyond me and yet, a part of me. There is a realization that hurt and
anguish is not a singular experience. Also there is awareness that in
each of us is the potential to alleviate or even prevent the suffering
of another. With this appreciation, my perception of the world shifts
and I cannot help but become more compassionate to others and mindful
of my actions and words. With inner calmness, time seems to move
slower, giving me space to respond in a more naturally thoughtful way
instead of just simply reacting without regard. There are other times
when I feel a soothing and pleasant sensation in mediation. In these
moments, I feel blessed to share in the joy of those around me. For
me, yoga is more than just asanas or sitting quietly on a mat. It is a
way of living that honors this great connection.

Just recently in yoga class, I experienced something different and
amazing. During savasana, I felt my heart center open up and my palms
became very warm. It felt like my hands were hovering above the
ground and gracefully moving though the air although my hands were not
physically moving. Then there was a sensation of traveling through a
maroon vortex, as if entering a tunnel. During this experience, I
felt fully alive and perceived a sensation of joy that I am still
having difficulty describing. It was such a great joy that I couldn’t
help but break into a silly wide grin. Have you ever awoken after a
deep rest and heard the chirping of the birds and been greeted by the
warmth of the morning sunlight on your face? Well, it was something
akin to that except there was no tangible reason for the joy. In this
blissful moment, I felt a deep gratitude for my existence and longed
to share it. It was lovely to feel such an intense happiness from a
simple meditation. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with
you and I wish you joy and appreciation throughout your yoga journey.

Rachel Cheng
Spring 2011 Yoga IV
Wednesday, March 3, 2011