I have a small note above my desk that is titled: “Non-Negotiable Necessities.” These are the things in my life that I truly can’t live without. They comprise the foundation of my self-care that, if neglected, sets me off balance and makes me much less effective in all that I do.
Included on this list are things like spending time in nature and with my animal family, regular bodywork and healing sessions, eating healthfully and sustainably, and my Yoga practice.
My Yoga practice is one of the bedrocks of my life. Included in this is my daily morning asana practice, occasional classes at my local Yoga studio, and “time off” retreats and workshops that I try to do at least twice a year. These practices sustain me, nourish me, and balance me.
Yoga for Life: Body, Mind, and Spirit
In our Western culture, the practice of Yoga has become synonymous with the physical practices of postures (asana), and because of our culture’s emphasis on physical perfection, has often become another workout, another way to push ourselves and keep ourselves “in good shape.” While Yoga certainly does have tremendous effects for the body, the physical postures are only a small part of the full expression of Yoga.
Yoga is a practice that teaches us how to live; how be in our bodies, our families, our communities, our world. Through Yoga, through our breath, we can learn how to have a physical life without mistaking our bodies or our outer reality for who we are. I love yogi Donna Farhi’s description of Yoga as a “Life Practice.” A “Life Practice” is something that sustains us in all the moments of our lives, not just on a meditation cushion, in a place of worship, or on a yoga mat.
Yoga has brought me home to my body. I spent most of my life, from early childhood on, being pretty ambivalent about being here. I wasn’t often really in my body, really “home”–it was a lot easier for me to travel around outside my body in the spiritual realms. When a debilitating depression that lasted for years finally brought me to my knees, and forced a course correction, I found myself in a Yoga class as I began my healing, my literal “rebirth.” And I began coming home to my body, my physical form, in a way that I never had before.
What I discovered is that my access to the spiritual realms strengthened the more I entered my physical body. As I became more grounded, I became more clear. As I became more clear, my telepathic senses and spiritual awareness expanded dramatically.
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Coming Home to Your Body
Our animal friends teach us about being embodied. Telepathic communication with animals is a gutsy, sensual, earthy experience of feelings, sounds, sights, smells, and sensation. While animals can, and do, communicate about spirituality, multi-dimensional perceptions, and the non-physical realms, it is most often from the “home base” of being fully embodied in their chosen form.
There are many practices that can “bring us home”. Any spiritual practice can be a life practice. And any life practice can be a spiritual practice. I find that sometimes people resist creating a spiritual practice in their lives that is nourishing for them because they have ideas about what it should look like.
“I can’t meditate because I can’t sit on a cushion comfortably for an hour.”
“I can’t practice Yoga because I have bad knees.”
“I can’t spend time in prayer or contemplation because I have young children.”
A Spiritual Practice or Life Practice is anything that brings us into the present moment, unites our bodies, minds, and spirits, and gives us tools to navigate the ups and downs of our lives. This can be something like gardening, making music, spending quiet time with our animal friends or children, walks in nature. It can be as simple as pausing a few times a day to pay attention to our breathing, and notice what is happening inside of us. It doesn’t need to be complicated, time-consuming, or painful.
For me, Yoga is a critical Life Practice. For you, it may be something different.
The key is to find something that will bring us home. Bring us back. Bring us into the present moment, living our lives in present time, in our bodies. Here. Now. After all, this is why we came.
About the Author
Nancy Windheart is an internationally-respected animal communicator, animal communication teacher, and Reiki Master-Teacher. Her life’s work is to create deeper harmony between species and on our planet through telepathic animal communication, and to facilitate physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing and growth for both people and animals through her healing services, classes, workshops, and retreats. For more info, visit www.nancywindheart.com.