It’s no longer surprising when a first-timer says “This is the best thing ever. I feel like I had an out-of-body experience.”
It’s not surprising because yoga fully anchors the physical body in the moment. If someone has not really been present in their body, but focused on what they are doing while forgetting about themselves, yoga and grounding in the present moment through breath and movement will feel foreign . . . . almost like an out of body experience. But in fact it’s just the opposite.
The yogis have told us for centuries that the body is not just the physical self: they believed what we see is a layer over four other layers which they called koshas. Koshas consist of the biological body — the one we see — but unseen layers are breath or the ethereal (which gives life); consciousness; spirituality, and the mental body.
When we get into the physical body, we also get into the spiritual body, the mental body, the ethereal body, and the consciousness body. This may be what some people feel for the first time doing yoga.
Spirituality is in our body even if most spirituality doesn’t honor this fact. Humans are spiritual by nature. This (spirituality) is not the same as holding a particular religion or belief system; rather, spirituality and the nature of being is not based on creed or belief for it is truly beyond definition.
Can anyone sufficiently package a multifaceted human being into into a summary or belief system? I’d say no, because mystery is at the center of human experience and being. A writer expressed it this way:
We are, “adrift in a galaxy amid hundreds of billions of galaxies, each sparkling with hundreds of billions of stars, each orbited by numberless possible worlds — already miracle enough.”
Our physical life on Earth is small and brief, and if we narrow it down by holding fast to a particular creed or perspective, we become closed and unavailable to inquiry. Our existence sans mystery and wonder becomes even smaller: we begin to curtail our curiosity, stop questioning, edit out the profound wonder of numberless possible worlds and accept easy answers rather than grapple with and lean into the profound nature and problems of being.
In yoga, our being here and now is reopened in breath, attention, and movement. Strong responses to this are not surprising and often leads a person into a new path of mindful self-care which leads to bigger questions and ever-expanding circles with deeper draws of inclusion.
The change for people starting yoga is unique because the lived experience of yoga sends one to deeper waters. American Poet Walt Whitman wrote of exploration in “Passage to India.”
“Sail forth – steer for the deep waters only / Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee and thou with me.”
Yoga may feel like an out of body experience to newcomers, but it’s really just a person sailing into deep waters and then getting back safely to themselves.
The last two yoga (breath and movement for bikers) sessions will be held April 6 and 20 at Superstition Harley Davidson at 5:00 pm. We meet on the outdoor deck facing the Goldfield Mountains. It is (I believe) the best place to practice yoga in Arizona. Here’s why:
- Mountains to focus on
- Fresh air, wind, and sun
- Large deck space for many people
- At 5:00 the sun is falling deeply in the west and is shining on biker-yogis in practice
The view and setting is incredible . . .