I am a firm believer in the power of meditation and the tranquility of present moment awareness. Perhaps these inclinations are what drew me to the benefits of yoga, or perhaps my interest in yoga helped cultivate these beliefs. Perhaps both are true.
There is something utterly therapeutic about allowing your mind to focus solely on your body movements, even if these motions are as subtle as the slight expansion and contraction of your ribcage with each breath. Upon my first yoga lesson, I was immediately entranced by the nearly-hypnotic effect of deep meditation.
Yoga has helped me cope with tumultuous circumstances in my personal life, empowering me with an unwavering sense of internal peace that functions as both a defensive shield and a security blanket—steadfast and comforting.
One yoga session in particular stands out in my mind vividly, as I heard a powerful message that resonated with me viscerally and spiritually. As I sat cross-legged on a purple floral mat, with my hands resting on my knees, my eyes closed, and my brain swimming in endorphins after a particularly challenging series, my yoga instructor recited a speech by The Hopi Elders.
I counted my breaths as I listened…
There is a river flowing now, very fast
It is so great and swift
That there are those who will be afraid,
They will try to hold onto the shore.
They will feel they are being pulled apart,
And will suffer greatly.
Understand that the river knows its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore,
Push off into the middle of the river,
Keep our eyes open and our heads above water.
And I say, see who is in there with you,
Hold fast to them, and celebrate.
As I heard these ancient words of wisdom, I could not help but think that I was meant to hear their message. I realized that I had been resisting change in my own life, afraid of what the future might bring. Until that point, I thought that the change itself was the source of my anxiety, but it was my own reluctance to change that was causing my distress.
As soon as I learned to embrace the changes in my life rather than fight them, I felt empowered, unencumbered, and centered. I was finally free and ready to welcome the new, the unfamiliar, and the unknown, in both personal and professional life.
It takes courage to let go of the shoreline and swim into uncharted waters, but more often than not, the current will take you somewhere even more extraordinary than you ever could have imagined.