In the spirit of embracing a beginner's mind, I excitedly took my first Anusara yoga class recently. Even though it's in the hatha tradition and I was pretty sure it wouldn't vary too far from the many hatha-based classes I've taken over the years, I was still nervous. Every style has its quirks and I still struggle with this desire to be perfect and impressive. Upon introducing myself to the instructor, Gail, she smiled at me and said, "Welcome Home." The last time anyone said that to me, I was ringing a bell with a big ol' piece of rebar in the middle of the night in a desert in Nevada. When I was welcomed home to Black Rock City last year, it became quickly apparent that while I had never been there, I most certainly belonged. Today in Anusara, Gail welcomed me home to my body.
A popular expression asserts that home is where the heart is. If that's so, then you are at home right now whereever you may physically be. Please do something for me. Put your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your heart. Now consciously slow the breath, allowing your belly to fill and extend, breathing all the way up into the collar bones. Exhale slowly and smoothly. Close your eyes for a couple of minutes, bringing your full attention and focus to the breath. There, see? You are alive, you are in your body and your heart is in your chest, beating faithfully, showing great love and devotion to you. You can't lose it, it can't be stolen or given away. You may have left bits of your consciousness in San Francisco, but your heart remains with you, always (for those lucky San Franciscans, your heart is in San Francisco...you are the exception).
Since that first class, I've been playing with this idea of coming home to ourselves. In our lives, our attention is pulled in so many directions at once that we can lose track of a conscious experience of our bodies. Have you ever been so immersed in a project that you forget to eat? Once I was so preoccupied that I started looking for my sunglasses in my purse when I was wearing them on my face. Yikes. In big and small ways, from attending to our basic needs to avoiding being hit by a bus, it is immensely helpful to stay at home in our bodies and present to the moment. We are bound to be pulled out of body consciousness; there are so many sources of possible distraction. The key is to keep coming back to the breath, staying cozy inside your home where your heart- and you- live.
Rest inside your miraculous body wherein you'll find everything you ever needed. You are already complete- no need to go searching around outside of yourself. You are the one that you want. Welcome Home!