Yoga-Script Into Health And Joy
Painted on a north facing wall in a Hawaiian yoga studio, a white lotus rests over a blue background. At the base, and in the middle of upward reaching lotus petals, a dark, blank circle became a bulletin board where studio owners wrote words or phrases every month. Sometimes they used white chalk on the black circle and at other times they wrote in pink, yellow, or blue chalk.
A white lotus has symbolized an awakened state, mental purity, and heightened spirituality. Buddhism considers the white lotus to be the womb of the world; and therefore, a place of new creation.
Hinduisms most popular lotus symbolism is also a white flower, and its significance is linked to Laxmi, the god of prosperity, and Brahman, the creator and cosmic center of all being and non-being. The lotus, often growing from mud, is an apt symbol for the possibility of transformation or change.
In that Hawaiian studio at the beginning of each month, I looked forward to the new word on that circle. I considered it an anchor to guide my mind during that class and over the following four weeks. Over time, I’d read these featured words: alignment, trust, control, inspiration, Namaste, and ignite, but I was surprised one day when the black circle at the lotus’ base was empty, a silent cipher, a table rasa of shocking forlornness.
After a while, I realized the intention of an empty circle was for all of us to place our own word, thought, or phrase in the middle of the lotus. The word we chose was up to us.
In my next session, I consciously visualized a word on the empty circle and let it guide my practice. I was creating my own motto and engaging my spiritual center there and then. I was the owner of my yoga script – and literally – claiming what I wanted to bring forth from the wall that day.
Much writing in the field of spirituality has to do with this notion of intentionality, focus and bringing a new vision to life. Wayne Dyer wrote often of ‘changing our script,’ and Sam Keen articulates with passion that all of us are responsible for replacing iatrogenic stories (sickening stories) with healthy stories.
These writers are on to something important, and the wall provided me a chance to cast my motto, write my script, to form my new creation then and there. When it comes to yoga for health and joy, there are as many ways to write that motto and embody that script as there are people do it.
Mary Karr, author of The Liars’ Club, leaves no doubt that the work is worth it: “It doesn’t matter how bleak our lives are, we still fight for the light. I think that’s our divinity. We lean into love, even in the most hideous circumstances. We manage to hope.”
The truth we’ve come to know is that yoga opens the heart which allows for a reordering of life priorities and practices. By writing the new script, fighting for the light, happiness will take up residence in the “deep heart’s core” and therefore change the yogi. Happiness cannot settle in a heart filled with bitterness, but neither can it stay away from a true heart strumming the chords of gratitude.
In gratitude, and with a renewed vision, the yogi will begin making choices that are central to who they really are and not to the “meaning-making” façade we are often required to project.
The lotus with an empty center invites us to write what we really want. Is it health and happiness, abundance and blessing, or something else?
Doing our yoga is one way to fight for the light of joy and with every yoga move we make the effort to breathe into the good. When gratitude finds free reign in the deep hearts core, happiness and joy pass through the negative barriers that can block us and rob us of life’s joy. Our yoga is the script for each of us to find such joy.
I remind myself that in spite of the surrounding maladies, I must manage to hope. I also counsel myself, and anyone who will listen, that the yoga we do is not just a hobby or something to fill up the time; rather, it is the door through which happiness and joy enter into an arena where we share a divinity that transforms stories from iatrogenic to generative.
Start anew to change the script and write the new one. Step into your practice today with a heart of gratitude leading the way, and with each good breath and move, fight for something we owe to ourselves and those we love: the light of health and joy.
“…they say the heart’s our center,
our portal down into the
core of the planet. I had been running
so long, full out, angry,
it took an inner earthquake
to shake me down
past the lines of fault
to the sweet round curve
of the planet. Now I am
nestled and stretched
on the wake of her, arms out
flying into spaces
so wide and even . . .
a tender touch
still and curving
open and spacious…”
Cascadia, S. (2012). Poetry of yoga (Vol. 1). Place of publication not identified: Lulu Com. “Restoration,” p. 66
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