A few years ago while leading retreat in Tulum, Mexico I woke up with the sunrise and to the calming sounds of the sea. One morning before teaching our group I wandered a few steps onto the secluded beach for a moment of inspiration and centering. There I met a local man who had just found a sea turtle that had wandered inland instead of towards the ocean. He asked if I wanted to have the honor of releasing the turtle out to sea. After my disbelief that a complete stranger would be willing to share this moment with me, of course I said yes. He lovingly placed this beautiful baby sea turtle into my hand to release into the ocean. As he placed the tiny turtle into my hands my eyes swelled with tears. I cried for the connection this complete stranger initiated. I cried for the life of the little turtle, as the odds of survival were certainly stacked against him. I also cried that I was lucky enough to be there at that moment, fully present in mind, body and spirit to experience all its beauty.
That moment was one that deeply touched my soul and left a lasting impression (at one point in the video you can audibly hear me gasp as the baby meets the ocean). I was reminded of how fragile and precious life is and how important it is to be fully present to experience it. I was reminded of how we are all part of the circle of life and that we are all deeply connected to each other and the world around us. We are all responsible for healing ourselves, this planet and, in turn each other. And that is exactly how our yoga practice can benefit us and all those we come in contact with.
Our practice teaches us that when we become present the world around us seems to change. Our presence, how we show up in each moment, with those we care about, or with complete strangers, has the capacity to effect how we engage with and perceive the world around us. The yogic concept of Aparigraha, or non-attachment, reminds us of the impermanence of life. Just like the tides of the ocean, life also ebbs and flows. There are moments that are joyful, fulfilling and easeful and there are moments that are painful, frustrating and difficult, and sometimes, like in the story above, all of these emotions can hit you like a tsunami. This is life, it’s just how it is.
The most enlightened teachers of yoga tell us that all of our suffering stems from fighting what is. When we can settle into each moment and allow whatever is there to be we can find ease, we can find beauty in each moment. We can use this concept on our mat in class when we are struggling in a posture, we can remind ourselves that the poses are going to change in just a few breaths so there is not need to to let the struggle be our focus. The more we practice being with each moment as it comes (and goes) the more we can practice being present with each of these emotions without attaching to them.
Aparigraha, all the cool yogis are doing it.
FORM yoga & Soul Nourish Retreats are headed back to Tulum, March 30-April 3, 2019. Head here to learn more about this program.