by Helen Simkins, Alstonville, Australia
On reading the article Esoteric Yoga: Truth in Stillness, I felt inspired to reflect on my own experiences with this amazing modality.
I have been participating in Esoteric Yoga group sessions since 2008 and what a journey this has been… I will never forget my first session.
I was attending a Universal Medicine retreat with around 100 others when I was introduced to Esoteric Yoga and to the fact that truly yoga is about union.
I held the belief that yoga was a sort of ‘cool’ and ‘spiritual’ exercise modality or practise which I had on past occasions attempted to take up – without success. I always thought that I was somehow lacking in the spirituality (and flexibility) required for devoting myself to yoga…
So I lay on my mat, ready for the yoga session to begin – and I waited, and waited and waited…
When would we start? Did I miss something? What was taking so long?
I lay there expectantly with my mind going in circles and my body wanting to fidget – and NOTHING happening. It was an uncomfortable and somewhat frustrating experience and seemed to go on forever. Eventually the hour was over – and after some exposing discussion I was left with the realisation that instead of choosing to connect to myself and to my body, instead of experiencing any kind of union during that time, I had spent the session waiting for someone to tell me what to do, for something to deliver the yoga experience to me….. what an eye opener!
There were further Esoteric Yoga sessions during the 5 day retreat and that introductory session had shown me something not to be forgotten – so each session I embraced the opportunity to recognise that this was about me being with me, first and foremost – as challenging as this would prove to be with so little distraction available!
The sessions were not all delivered like that first one. They included occasional suggestions about connecting to and feeling various parts of our bodies: to begin with it seemed impossible to get my head around what focussing on feeling from a part of my body even meant! There were even some gentle movements – thank goodness – I had no idea that actually being present and lying still in my own body could seem so PAINFUL.
I was learning something already through this introduction to Esoteric Yoga: exposing to myself how I had come to place so much importance on my mind and so little on listening to what was going on in my body. So much was being revealed to me about the way I had allowed my mind to drive my body through life… and boy was it uncomfortable!
But there was something really special happening too: after each session I felt more deeply relaxed, calm and solidly connected to my whole being than I could remember. I was really enjoying this feeling. By the end of the 5 days my love for Esoteric Yoga and its powerful simplicity was born.