Yogic Spirituality

By Jana Hill
Yoga Instructor

Yogic spirituality is just a quiet mind.

I have had some very yogic moments on long-distance runs, while staring into the eyes of my newborns, then my toddlers, then my teens. And I’ve had yogic moments while sitting on a beach and listening to the waves, awaiting news at a hospital bedside, at the end of my rope and making a mental checklist of what is going right, simply because so much was going wrong.

Yogic spirituality is that moment, when you are nowhere else: just there and aware of it. It’s when you are not even actively accepting your moment — it’s simpler than that. You’re just living it, fully.

Yoga is just a quiet mind: but a quiet mind is an amazing thing.

Every moment has its value, its bliss, its misery, or its simplicity. Yoga just prepares you to be there, so that you won’t miss it; and so you can be there, be steady, and support both yourself and your people.

That practice of moving with the breath, standing still in a trying physical pose and focusing on just that: it tends to spill over into all of life, because the brain is like that. If you train it to do something, the brain imprints and the body wants to repeat it. When that something is yoga, you stop fretting so much. It makes you more patient with your kids. It can have side effects such as “listening to your spouse” and “not complaining about the dishes.”

So, if you are one of those people who fears yogic spirituality, try this practice somewhere that you feel safe: just “be present,” and breathe. Do nothing else. Sit and breathe slowly, and focus your mind on that breathing. If you’re too anxious to just sit, wear yourself out with exercise first, then try it again.

One of Patanjali’s sutras is “yogas citta vritti nirodhah,” a Sanskrit phrase that means “Yoga is stilling the fluctuations of one’s consciousness.”

If you just finished a yoga practice, or just went running, or just stared at one of your beautiful people, and in that moment of doing only that thing, your mind stopped racing — that is “it.” That’s all that yoga has to offer.

But that’s a lot. It’s a very small thing that makes your life bigger.