These are the four subjects that run rich in my blood. I study them and fall blissfully in love, understanding that each bit of knowledge that comes from them is a rare treasure. Archeological diamonds. A ruby in Cumming’s words. Sapphires lining Yoga’s peace. Crystals of black and white ink. I am learning that the messages of these subjects intertwine so carefully that they are braided together in unending knots: I photograph the world I observe. Yoga connects me to the earth and humanity. And I write about what I see.
“Write a reflection about your Yoga journey.” This was the last assignment of my college Yoga class. To complete it, I knew I would have to incorporate my other subjects. I wrote my reflection at the beach. After I took this photo. This is my truth…simply:
I am discovering the gift Yoga has become for me. With every practice I have become more spiritually centered and internally aware. A fire is burning within me. It is an energy, a happiness, a state of being, a way of life. I am learning that while I cannot control life around me, I can control my emotions and my reactions. I do not try to suppress my inherent human emotions, but I analyze them to understand the root causes of inner chaos. I have become more aware of my surroundings. I appreciate the pill bug that crawls by my mat in the gym while I practice. I hear the lizards bustling freely through the leaves. I see the radiance in blue wings of the low swooping bird, and the yellow of the bird in the window. I talk softly to the dogs. I feel compassion at the climax of a heated argument. I feel peace in the motion of the wind. I lean into the window to feel the sun on my skin. I let the ocean be my guide.
Undeniably, happiness is my ultimate goal in life. I would like to continue practicing Yoga to assist me in my quest for happiness. But I have discovered that happiness mustn’t be forced or feigned. I once read a short story about a man who wished for permanent happiness. When his wish was granted, he was unable to appreciate the gift he was given because he did not recognize feelings of sorrow or pain. Turmoil and tragedy are natural stages of life. At times, grief will engulf the mind. Accepting the realities of suffering is necessary for growth. Contentment in times of pain, leads to happiness in times of joy. This is the message I have received from Yoga.
It is appropriate that I began my path towards fulfillment through Yoga in my last semester at Grossmont College. It is my parting gift. As I begin a new chapter of my life at USD, I will take the lessons I have learned, and expand upon them through my continued Yoga practice. As an Anthropology student I will use the lessons of Yoga to observe a spiritual connection between myself and the people I study. As Alfred Lord Tennyson observed in his poem Ulysses: “Tis not to late to seek a newer world.” Yoga will be my new world. And I will explore it. With an open heart and a pure soul.