When I first arrived in Sydney I attended a course in the beautiful Japanese healing art, Shiatsu. One of the many insightful teachings I have brought with me from this course was what one of the teachers repeatedly stressed: ‘when you lay your hands on a body, you will always get a true reflection of the person’s current state – a body never lies!’

This sentence stayed with me. Teaching Yoga and coming into contact with bodies regularly, has confirmed this many times over. We might sometimes wish to escape or delay facing certain truths and outwardly present quite a different picture to how we are feeling inside. But as Buddhist teachings have passed on always, we can try to avoid an issue or problem for a while, delaying dealing with it, but continuous procrastination or denial won’t solve it. What immediately comes to mind is the very sad and worrying state our planet is in, and that ‘world leaders’ are not taking action in solving some very serious issues. Or, thinking of the end of a relationship with our big love, or worse, someone dear to us passing away, we will have to go through the process of grief, while still coping with our day-to-day responsibilities.

What’s fascinating about our body is that every experience we have ever had in our life, will have somehow manifested in our physical body. Some sayings like, ‘this is a pain in the neck’ or ‘this weighs heavily on my shoulders’, express our mindset based on a current situation in our life, linking a physical reaction/sensation to a particular mental experience.

Our Yoga practice is very helpful in aiding us to acknowledge this mind-body connection. Sometimes when I try to avoid facing some uncomfortable truths, Donna, my partner, has a near-psychic ability to see through me to the issue that I’m unable to face. This is when she sends me to yoga, and threatens (laughingly), ‘only come back once you have done a proper practice!’. I then go and do my usual Yoga practice, and without fail come back like a different person.

Yoga enables us to release, let go, and open up to truths and deep insights. Interestingly enough, when acting truthfully, any issues we have are resolved easily. Honest communication with others allows for an uncomplicated and easy way of putting any disputes aside. One of Yoga’s precious gifts is the courage and inner strength we develop; to take a step away from denial or avoidance, and enable ourselves to effectively deal with the issue at hand. This includes physical discomfort or even pain; when in our asana (posture) practice we are forced to slow down, look closely at the problem area, and investigate with an open and ‘flexible’ mind. We are practicing ‘Satya’, truthfulness; one of the ‘Yamas’ – observances – the first of the eight limbs of Yoga.

You also might have had one of those amazing experiences, where once you had resolved a bothersome situation in your life, suddenly you were achieving a yoga posture you had been struggling with for a while, and this is no co-incidence!

Yoga works hand in hand with our mental and emotional maturing. It is well worth watching closely and reflecting on this interplay. You will gain even more trust in your Yoga practice, and its’ miraculous potential to heal you and bring about contentment and equilibrium. All along, a lot of fun can be had when attempting those seemingly impossible postures, where one day you’ll look back and think ‘not so impossible after all’.

There is always a yoga mat for you at our shala :)

OM Shanti, Angelika