Listening to the Heartbeat of a Bumblebee Renewing your Practices

atha yoga anushasanam newness renewal spring

Welcome to March with its whipping winds and last-minute winter storms punctuated by the occasional warm and sunny days.  In this season of Vata (air) and Kapha (water), we are invited to stand in fast-moving rivers of snow melt and lean into chilly zephyrs while deepening our roots and practicing steadfast balance.  Spring may be jostling back and forth but one thing remains, this idea of being fully present in the here and now.

In the very first Sutra shared by the sage Patanjali, it states:  Atha Yoga-Anushasanam.  Translated as now, this is Yoga as I have perceived it in the natural world.  He isn’t forecasting, he begins assertively with now. I love how we can use this assertive declaration of now in our spiritual practices to encourage renewal.

In our practices, we all have patterns of repetition.  We might flow through the same postural practices, recite the same affirmations, chant the familiar mantras, and repeat the well-worn prayers.  And those practices, through their familiarity, allow us to send our roots deeper and wider into the connection and awareness of the true Self.

So even if we have come to a practice a million times before it is the now-ness, the now, that encourages us to find the hidden treasures underneath the surface of the familiar, like stirring a resting soup to bring up its aromas and colors, or overturning garden stones at rest for years to see how it shapes the earth and what little creature might call it their roof. 

Atha, now, is a word of wonderful importance.  It aligns our body and mind with the presence of life at this very moment.  It reminds us that we’ve never been here before and we will never be again, atha, we are stepping into the portal of the creative process which is forever creating and expanding again and again.  Anu, means this precise moment, anu is one of the innumerable moments that make up the whole of time.  So while we may seem separate from ourselves, the beloved, or each other, anu reminds us that we are intimately connected, yoked, and sutured together down to the very last atom, and together, everything makes up the whole.  Without this moment there would be no time.

In this oneness, the familiar becomes new. In a single moment, if we allow it, the newness can spontaneously reveal something that illuminates and informs. The moment is the shasanam, the instruction.  Atha Yoga Anushasanam.

The challenge is to slow down enough and to stand in the fast-moving river and listen yoking yourself to the eternal, and stop looking outside of yourself for the intelligence of life. To be so still, so deep in awareness that any boundaries you have created are dissolved into nothingness.

Go looking for the secrets, the treasures, and the gifts of your practices.  Overturn their stones.  Sit in awe of the natural world around you, observe its wondrous complexity, and celebrate the courage of its constant renewal. Nature never repeats itself, it never does anything twice, and we are nature.  Read that favorite quote of Rumi again for the thousandth first time.  Let all the pieces of your practices fly apart and come together again like a starling murmuration.

“Imagine for a moment listening so intently to the natural world around you that you could hear the heartbeat of a bumblebee.  It’s not important that you hear it …only that you would try.”

What well-worn practice can you revisit with the power of now?

Om & Blessings, Kate 



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