Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As big as the universe

I’ve definitely felt this way sitting on my mat, before, during and after yoga: 

My entire self-concept shifted as I no longer perceived myself as a single, a solid, an entity with boundaries that separated me from the entities around me. I understood that at the most elementary level, I am a fluid. Of course I am a fluid! Everything around, about us, among us, within us, and between us is made up of atoms and molecules vibrating in space. Although the ego center of our language center prefers defining our self as individual and solid, most of us are aware that we are made up of trillions of cells, gallons of water, and ultimately everything about us exists in a constant and dynamic state of activity. My left hemisphere had been trained to perceive myself as a solid, separate from others. Now, released from that restricted circuitry, my right hemisphere relished in its attachment to the eternal flow. I was no longer isolated and alone. My soul was as big as the universe and frolicked with glee in a boundless sea.

It's not about yoga, of course. It's from Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's "My Stroke of Insight," the story of the massive stroke she experienced in 1996. 

Not to oversimplify or anything: the right-brain peace that Dr. Bolte Taylor describes is so like the expansive bliss of a good practice, minus the brain damage, of course.  When she's talking about "stepping to the right," inhabiting the more peaceful right hemisphere, I feel completely at home, like that's where we're stepping every time we unroll our mats.

Maybe that's why yoga is so irresistible.  The peace, the sense of connection and unity, is irresistible.    Up til now, I sometimes worried that it was perhaps an addiction of some kind, a habit or crutch.  But having read "Stroke of Insight," I see my deep draw to yoga with a different clarity -- it's irresistible and necessary to spend hours in the right brain-space, running our inner-peace circuitry as Dr. Bolte Taylor calls it.  How and why stay away from a place where we feel whole, perfect, beautiful just as we are?  And spending time there, running that circuitry, has the added benefit of creating more peace around us.  Are we wired for yoga?  Seems like it.

The book is a quick read and I highly recommend it, if you haven't read it already.  And you can watch the TED below.  Dr. Bolte Taylor is a pleasure to listen to.  

Me, I can't wait to be on my mat, stepping over to the right hemisphere of my brain.  Such a lovely place!

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