When it comes to changing, healing, or enhancing our physical health, the knowledge we need on nutrition and exercise is very accessible. And this empowers us to create routines and habits depending on what we want to accomplish. Anyone who has attempted to lose weight, run a marathon, or heal an ailment can attest to the miraculous transformations that can happen.
What about our spiritual health? What do we need to do to develop, grow, or strengthen that? Have we even accessed what we may need?
I must admit, I never really thought about this before until I was reading this article in the February 2014 issue of Yoga Journal “Forces of Nature” by Sally Kempton.
Not only does Sally beautifully explain how the physical practice of yoga reshapes us but she also says:
“Spiritual growth is natural, like physical growth, but it also requires the right nutrients, including awareness, contemplation, meditation, self-inquiry, a supportive cultural environment, and a willingness to do what we’ve come to call ‘inner work.’”
We grow physically when we exert ourselves in an activity and also feed ourselves with the right food. So even though we may go to the corporeal yoga class, what else are we fortifying our spirits with?
Living in an industrialized country, and a big city, I’ve always been grateful to have access to exceptional teachers and bookstores. Yet Sally’s list goes beyond our advanced resources. No matter where we live or how much we read, if we’re not taking the time to be silent, ask ourselves questions, and carefully curate who and where we spend our time; we’re not giving ourselves the right nourishment our souls may need to flourish.
A “healthy” state is usually defined as one that is illness and injury-free and let’s be honest, as we know from our physical health, it takes some serious work and dedication to sustain that. In fact, I think maintaining a robust spirit is perhaps harder because we can carry unconscious injuries around for years, if not a lifetime.
As with any diagnosis we have a choice, to stay in ignorance or to treat and assess our conditions with the best care that’s possible. It sucks that it’s up to us since no one else can really know what goes on between our hearts and minds. But as we do in class, we can set an intention, commit to some sort of training, and let the universe guide us to manifesting what we want to achieve.