Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing about some ways in which writing can help us make sense of darkness. But it’s also important that we connect to our own and to the world’s light. Writing can help lead us to light, but for me the path to light was not primarily through the mind, but through the body.
I had been writing for many years, struggling to understand my own suffering, and I felt I was making some progress. It was when I started to practice kundalini yoga, however, that something in me began to shift.
I could go into yoga class feeling really dark, despondent even. And after even just a few minutes of breathwork and movement, I felt a connection to something greater.
It was as if a window had suddenly been opened on a hot day to a cool spring breeze. There were other ways of being, other perspectives--another story that I hadn’t even been aware of.
Marianne Williamson famously said that it is not our fear of darkness that keeps us back, but rather our fear of our own light:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
In those yoga classes, in opening up my own breath and body through pranayama and spinal flexes, through testing my core strength and my will, sometimes holding out my arms for eleven minutes at a time, something in me shifted.
Did I think that I was depressed because something had gone wrong in my life? I now wondered if that idea was too small. Perhaps what had been so hard was that I had simply not known how to harness my own power.
To be honest, even in yoga classes, these moments of insight were brief: star-like punctures of light coming through the dark chatter of my brain. But the insights kept me going.
And gradually over time, those pin pricks of light became more a part of my every day fabric. Of course I was still me, a human being with the full range of emotions. But there was more openness, more space, more light, more understanding of how powerful we all really are.
I could access that not from the mind, but from the connection of mind and body. And from that connection my writing also changed, became more open.
By joining yoga and writing and meditation, we can consciously redirect our attention, harness our own power, take our fears and turn them on their heads. We can re-unite mind and body, which perhaps became fragmented because we were overwhelmed by our own potential.
What if we more regularly gave ourselves the time and space and permission to trust or own light? What would we—and our world—look like?
If you’d like time to practice writing, yoga and meditation together, please join me for a full weekend retreat August 18-20thin Connecticut at the beautiful Copper Beech Institute. There will be great food, wonderful company and plenty of time for relaxation, too. Open to people with all levels of writing and yoga experience!
I blog about creativity, writing, yoga, meditation, justice, women, the environment and integrated well being for the individual and society
"Taking Nadia’s class changed my life and I do not exaggerate when I say it was how I found my true life, my true self.—Joanne Reynolds
My work with Nadia was personally and professionally transformative – Cameron Marzelli, Ph.D.,