Before I found yoga, I believed in God when life was good, and doubted His existence when life was hard. Everyone from my minister to George Michael told me, “you gotta have faith”…so I tried, but my faith often failed me.
I was disciplined about attending church. I could cite scripture. Knew all the words to the hymns. But try as I might, I didn’t feel like I knew God. Something was missing.
Until one day, on my yoga mat, in Sean Tebor’s class at Peachtree Yoga Center in February 2003, I felt Him. I felt God with me there, in Warrior 1, telling me that I was on the right path. It was so empowering. I’ll never, ever forget it.
Does that sound crazy? It seems a little strange to put it in writing, that God speaks to me on my yoga mat, but it’s true. That’s exactly what happened that night, and what has happened countless times since. The more I practice yoga, the more I feel like I know God, and He is present in my life. And that makes me really, really happy.
This knowing of God is the eighth and final discipline of yoga. It happens when our mind, body and spirit are aligned, and we are open and available to what is happening in the present moment, without ego or judgement. This is where we find God.
Patanjali tells us that we can access samadhi anywhere, at any time. This might be true, but in my experience, samadhi takes practice. It’s the reason I meet my mat every day. Because the knowing of God is worth fighting for. And the harder I work to access samadhi, the more frequently I notice God’s presence in my life.
These days, I still go to church, read my Bible, and pray. These disciplines are the framework for my faith, and samadhi is the glue that holds it all together. The more I practice yoga–from the first discipline to the last–the easier it becomes to keep the faith. The something that was missing in my youth was yoga, and now that I have it, I’ll never let it go.
Namaste, and happy last day of National Yoga Month!