July 15, 2010 on 11:07 am
From the desk of The Spiritual Explorer
As The Spiritual Explorer I receive many letters from yoga practitioners, interfaith devotees and body workers as to which teacher or perhaps book I might recommend. I am very gratified by their intelligent questions and responses. So with his permission, I am including a very sincere question I received today.
Dear Spiritual Explorer: “My sister takes yoga and is always talking about how great meditation and yoga are for her. I am curious about what she is doing, and I have even tried meditating myself and getting into some of the postures that she does. But even though I try, I am not sure I am doing the right thing. Can you recommend either a book or a teacher for me? Consider me, “Someone Just Starting Out.” – Joe M, Tulsa, OK
Dear Joe: Do you know that even to ask this question means you are a spiritual person?It says to me that your spirit is waking up and wanting to know the best thing to do. The spiritual experience is very unique and individual. That is one of the foremost lessons to be taught. Nobody can duplicate another’s experience in their spiritual life; nor should anybody try to.Just as our fingerprints are unique to us, each person’s spiritual beliefs and practice is distinctive and different. I have a few suggestions for you however.
The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown
I would suggest you start by doing some simple breaths. Inhale for five counts; exhale for five counts; and do that for about five minutes in the morning and evening. Just doing a simple breath is a spiritual exercise and can connect you to yourself. Again, there is that old phrase, God is in the simple. When you find your breath slowing you down and your mind stops its meanderings, ask yourself what the next step could be for you to follow. It could mean that all you need to do is some light stretching, which if you do it with some mindfulness, is really what yoga is all about. After becoming proficient in any exercise, you might decide to try another one. The important thing is you proceed at your own pace. May I also suggest The Yoga Bible by Christina Brown which features over 150 yogic postures with easier postures illustrated for beginners. I love this book because it’s easy to read and amply illustrated.
Another thing you might want to do is create what they call a “puja” space. This means a simple piece of furniture or a shelf, or even a closet for some, where you put some things you consider meaningful or sacred to you. This could be a sea shell, a stone you’ve picked up from your travels, a piece of beautiful wood or whatever strikes your fancy. The basics would probably be a candle or a stick of incense, which you light before sitting down to breathe or meditate.
Start anywhere, when you’re doing yoga. Be patient, because your spirit is taking notice and will respond soon.
All the best of luck to you, Spiritual Explorer
If you have a question you would like to ask, send me your question. Ask The Spiritual Explorer