Balancing

At some point, one day on your yoga mat, it occurs to you that just as in asana we seek to take in the experience and sensation of the entire pose, to breathe into our experience, and to maintain awareness of all the senses at once, we do the same (or try to) in the rest of our lives. We try not to allow the mind to run away with things, but rather to maintain awareness of all the senses, our entire experience at once.

In Donna Farhi’s Bringing Yoga to Life, she comments: “The moment we begin to participate fully with the present moment, we discover that with every breath we are changing…” (p. 104). For example, when we begin to eat a meal with awareness, we realize that the experience is different at the beginning of the meal, when we first see, smell, taste, and (possibly) touch our food than it is as we continue to eat it. The first bite is not the same as the tenth. The food’s temperature cools, different flavors and seasonings assert themselves, we perhaps lose interest and become less aware of what we are eating.

Attempting to maintain awareness of each incremental moment may seem an impossible or maddening task, but in fact it becomes easier as one practices and works with various experiences in this way. The result is a heightened sensory awareness of life as it is going on around you and inside you. Instead of seeing life as a series of impressions that frequently overlap, one becomes much more intimate with life and experiences things more deeply: “This lucid consciousness is characterized by a complete arousal of all the senses, which is at once blissful and satisfying.” (Farhi, pg. 104)