by Mona Keddy
I don’t always or easily feel free. I take the responsibilities and roles of daily life seriously. Significant other, daughter, sister, friend, studio owner, business partner, yoga teacher, these roles and their responsibilities don’t always leave much room in my day. The structure of daily life becomes binding and I am not aware of it.
Recently, at the beginning of the weeklong yoga retreat I run annually in Mexico, both the participants and I set an intention for the week ahead. This year, as I was walking on the beach the day retreat participants arrived, I named an experience I have had there before. When I leave Montreal and winter to arrive miraculously in sunshine and warmth, I often notice my deeper breaths, my smile, a lightening inside. This year, I knew that to be freedom.
Freedom in intimately connected to yoga. Yoga is a process of freeing our physical body from its tensions and constrictions and also is a process of freeing ourselves from the preconceived ideas of who we are and what is possible. The work in the asana practice is to gain freedom in movement and also a freedom from the perceptions that bind or limit us. Most often, I believe, our limitations revolve around a fear. Fear asks the questions: will I be okay? will I be liked / loved? will I survive? Fear is the constriction or the binding that holds us back, limits us and keeps us safe, comfortable.
In the face of the limitless ocean, sky, the vivid colours, texture, sounds and smells of the natural world around me in Mexico, my fear and its constrictions shrivel a bit. Something releases and I am light. We all have these moments where we experience who we are apart from the roles and responsibilities of daily life. May our practice of yoga attune us more completely to those moments and may we hold that freedom as sacred.