Ode to Yoga*
Blessed to tread your sacred pathway
Urged by broken spirit’s cries
Blessed to touch your ancient wisdom
Feel the Light entering mind
Blessed to meet You every morning
And to let You deep inside
Blessed to feel Your healing power
Purifying flesh and heart
Namaste My Sacred Master!
Namaste Divine Goddess!
Take me to Eternal Garden
Lead me to my Highest Self
Know that when the force of Prana
Pulses in my every cell
When the quiet breathing rhythm
Leads me to be one with Zen
Then I merge with Cosmic Spirit
Feeling God is by my side
Then I am with You at the altar
Of my Body and my Mind
* from The Power Within. A Poetic
Guide into Self-Power, Ancient Wisdom
and Quantum Reali-tyby Eliza Anna
“Yoga does not just change the way we
see things, it transforms the person
who sees it”. – BKS Iyengar.
The blessings of Yoga are countless. As a physical exercise it strengthens and heals the body. When practiced with awareness, it awakens the spirit and supports one’s journey towards self-realization. It remains, next to meditation, prayer, positive thinking and mindfulness, a key mechanism enhancing and maintaining mental and physical well-being. It keeps our hearts open, alert and compassionate, and our egos and shadows in check.
The Ode to Yogaemerged from the depth of my soul at home, after a morning practice – my meditation in action. The words materialized as I was pondering my boundless gratitude for having experienced the power of Yoga and its blessings. I was still ‘in the zone’- feeling whole, in blissful harmony with myself and nature; peaceful, rebalanced and smiling on the inside.
Why has it appeared so late I wondered, re-reading the poem. Why not during early years of intensive Ashtanga Yoga practice, when my neck was strong enough to cope with prolonged head stands and my supple limbs followed instructions with incredible ease? The subsequent answer made a lot of sense. It was too early then. The stage of the inner quest was only beginning. I knew about the power of yoga, but was only starting to feel it and understand it.
“Love must be incarnated in the smallest pore of the skin, the smallest cell of the body, to make them intelligent so they can collaborate with all the other ones, in the big republic of the body. (…) Practitioners of the asanas alone often forget that yoga is for cultivating the head and the heart.”- BKS Iyengar, Yoga Philosophy, iyi.org.uk
The Ode is more than a tribute to Yoga’s incredible mind-altering and healing powers. It is also a testament to a milestone on a path of self-realization. Body purification through asanas and learning mind control through breathing, need time to make one ready for spiritual changes. Developing a visceral awareness of the sacred union of the heart and the head – the key to our personal and global transformation – is a process requiring commitment, discipline and patience.
“As a goldsmith burns the gold several times to create 24 carat gold, so your body has to be purified like the goldsmith purifies gold. That is why so many asanas have been given to allow the blood to reach the smallest, darkest part of your body.” – BKS Iyengar’s speech at opening of Maida Vale Institute – November 1997, iyi.org.uk
Ability to feel and visualize the bloodstream powered up by the breath, reaching and purifying one’s every cell and raising one’s vibrations during asanas’ practice, is a profound and mind shifting experience.Everything in the universe is in motion. Everything, as discovered by quan-tum physics, consists of vibrating sub-atomic particles kept in motion by an invisible Life-force.We all vibrate energetically at a particular frequency. The higher the frequency, the better our psychological and physical wellbeing.
“Natural changes in state are produced by the expansion of the molecules and an increase in the rate of vibration of the constituent particles of any given substance. Yoga is like that. It is a selfinduced raising of one’s rate of vibration with the result that when the rate reaches certain intensity, there ensues that expansion of consciousness which affects the change of state …a release of power…in which physical laws…fade into spiritual laws unknown to physical man.” – Prof. Hilton Hotema, Awaken the World Within, Health Research Books 1996, books.google.com
One of the mind altering effects of regular practice is realisation that one’s body is a sacred sys-tem, and as such deserves to be treated with love and respect. Changes in diet and lifestyle follow. Selfrespect and love grow. Consistent, vibrationraising purification of mind and body finally reaches a tipping point, producing a shift in consciousness bringingus closer to the Universal Spirit and “the true union of our will with the will of God” (BKS Iyengar, The Illustrated Light on Yoga, Thorsons, 1995).
“The harder the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Self-realization demands very great struggle.” – Swami Sivananda.
The process of re-connecting with one’s Inner Self results in a seemingly miraculous transmutations. It alchemizes knowing into feeling, logic into intuition, and sense of separateness into that of Oneness. The growing sense of Self prompts one to review one’s path and connection with the world, and to reevaluate one’s life and relationships.It often leads, as it did in my case, to deeper interest in spirituality, ancient wisdom and modern science, as a way of exploring the meaning of life and nature of reality.
The blessings however, do not come without challenges and tribulations. Unplugging from tribal and external expectations and following one’s inner guidance and genuine needs usually lead to profound and often difficult life changes. Re-connecting with our God given Power, has its price. Small sacrifice compared to the end result – ability and courage to create a life we want need and deserve.
“The moment you understand yourself as the true Self, you find such peace and bliss that the impressions of the petty enjoyments you experienced before become as ordinary specks of light in front of the brilliant sun.”- Swami Satchidananda.
Thank you Trevor Tangye, my first yoga teacher, for helping me to awaken my spirit, rebalance my mind and purify my body. Thank you Yoga for your blessings, on and off the mat! I, like millions of others, cannot imagine life without you, and hope that my Ode is a tribute worthy of your incredible healing and life-transforming power. Namaste
About the Author: A perennial truth seeker and a poet at heart, Eliza credits Yoga with her spiritual awakening, and well-being. A global citizen, she has worked on three continents: writing for DCMetroTheaterArts and Ambassador Theater in the U.S.; teaching English in Europe; and working as a Social Worker/Public Servant in Australia, her home base.