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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

YOGA: Fully Alive in a Softened Life

Feb 08, 2011 02:36PM ● By Sally Grillo

“To awaken, sit calmly, letting each breath clear your mind and open your heart.”
The Buddha


Let’s begin with sitting calmly. There are days when sitting calmly seems impossible, with so much to do. Of the many wonderful spiritual disciplines in the world today, one that is best when it comes to sitting calmly, clearing the mind, and opening the heart is the practice of yoga. Yoga teaches the student to slow down, look inside, pay attention and embrace what is seen, even if it’s not appealing. Yoga awakens the senses until sweet moments emerge, when we enter the magical world of a baby who is observing hands, touching toes, crawling, reaching, and standing for the first time.

 Erich Schiffmann, master yoga teacher, says, “The release from fear is what finally precipitates the full flowering of love. In this state you will love what you see in others, and others will love you for having been seen. This is the softened perception of the world that yoga promotes.”

 Sitting calmly and facing fear takes great courage and strength. It’s not easy to think clearly when confronted with daily pressures and struggles of life. But with gentle persistence and a steady, dedicated practice it is possible to come to a place of freedom, happiness and peace. The key word here is dedication! A practice becomes authentic and truly felt when approached with dedication and devotion. Danna Faulds writes in Go In and In: Poems from the Heart of Yoga, “To be fully alive is saying yes to the wide array of human feelings. When I soften, release and breathe, I discover I am more than what I think, feel, reason, or believe.”

 Centering in yoga allows the student to go inside, open to the flow of grace and connect to the “Source of Being.” Spiritual leader, auhor and scientist Joan Borysenko puts it this way: “When you’re in that center of goodness within you, you also feel connected to a greater wholeness—-a higher intelligence—-that’s hard to express in words, but has been called many things, including wisdom, God, the Source of Being, or Ultimate Reality.”

The Inside Connection

 Aligning the body in yoga postures teaches amazing lessons. Sometimes postures fit just right and the student is able to slip into them gracefully. Other times the posture is not a comfortable fit, as if you were wearing an outfit two sizes too small. It’s difficult to breathe and a struggle to maintain.

 Yoga offers moral and ethical guidelines as well as postures, breathing techniques, concentration and meditations. The practice of yoga teaches us to soften, pause, and learn to approach and respond in a variety of situations with clarity, love and acceptance. Common difficulties, such as doubt, may arise. When this challenge occurs, the practice is to pause, become still and take a genuine, honest look at the situation.

  The good news is that the lessons learned on the mat can be applied to all situations and relationships in life. As relationships begin to heal, health and happiness begins to flow. Haven Trevino, on the website The Tao of Healing, says, “Returning to Wholeness is the natural way; allow, allow, allow. The choice to Love is the Mother of Everything. There are no exceptions.”

Sally Grillo is the owner of Nu~Yoga Studio, at 32-34 Main St. Suite 6,
Norwalk. Call 203.854.6744 or visit for more information. This article is dedicated, with gratitude, to her teachers of past and present for their wisdom and teachings: Erich Schiffmann, Danna Faulds and Joan Borysenko.