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Rehabilitation of a Yogi: The Magical Anchor

Feeling out of sorts, annoyed, blue?  Do you need a bit of magic in your life?  Not the fancy shmancy genie-in-a-bottle tricky kinda magic.  This is the real deal, folks.  This here is your all-natural organic magic. 

What’s wild is that it’s been there all along.  Breath, the magical anchor is always available, simply touching it gently we start to see a little more clearly.  With practice one may learn to rely on this magic, the least solid, the least stable, the least steady, but the most present of all experience.

In yoga we work with the breath by controlling and manipulating its flow in pranayama exercises.  In meditation we use the natural breath as the anchor for attention.  Resting attention on awareness seems a lofty enterprise, but resting attention on the breath sounds doable.  At least for one inhale.  Or one exhale.


Breath, the Weightless Anchor

Off in outer space – come back.
Embroiled in turmoil – come back.
Heart aching, trampled and sore – come back.
Hate this life, hate this job, hate this me – come back.
Endless arguments about china patterns and the like – come back.
The look in your eyes like you’re not really here with me – come back.
The inhale, quality of slow or quick, sometimes spiky and hard.
The exhale, sometimes feel clenched, sometimes extravagant, or lonely, or empty.
Is this ok?  I come back.
Am I ok?  I come back.
Returning to the starting point of the journey
To find the destination.
Come back to the breath.
Fear of Death, longing for Intimacy,
The pain of sorrow, the anxious clinging to a brighter more beautiful tomorrow
Come back, my love – come back.
Return to the field where you can play
And cry, and set your insecurities ablaze
With your sharp gaze of discernment.
Guilt and shame, hope and blame,
All appear as floats in a parade.
Come back.


To Stay or to Come Back

There’s an insidious idea out there that the goal is to stay on the breath, to stay present, to be in the now.  What is that?  It’s just an idea… of some improbable superhuman (and rather boring) state of being.  Our practice (be it yoga asana or seated meditation) is not about staying with the breath but rather learning to come back.  And if there’s judgement – notice, and come back.  If there’s shame – acknowledge it and come back.  If you feel like a total loser and a failure because you can’t stay with your own stinkin breath for the count of three – come back.  Do it simply, without adding anything extra like admonition, recrimination or adulation.  Come back to your breath.  Come back to your life.


Rehabilitation of a Yogi is the story of one woman seeking to find contentment with reality and embrace self care.

Open Mind Yoga: Six Week Workshop at the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York features a playful exploration of Yoga and Meditation. Drop in for the next three Wednesdays at 7pm!

Contact me with questions.  Thank you for your comments.

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