We will be free


“According to the Yogic system, the entire body changes in a period of twelve years; in other words, you do not have even one cell that was there twelve years ago.”1 (Satchidananda)

That statement kind of blew my mind and I started thinking about the stages of my life in twelve year increments. Was I the same person in each stage?

It does seem like I went through major changes at 12, 24, and 36. I could see each age as the beginning of a new era in my life. At 12 I quit ballet and piano, joined a children’s theatre group, and changed schools to change who I was, who my friends were, and start fresh in a new environment. At 24 I got my first permanent job in NYC, was in my first long term relationship, and felt, to my dismay, that I had really entered the adult world. At 36 I had my son – enough said.

But I still feel essentially like the same person. My core personality hasn’t changed although other aspects have come and gone depending on my life situation, location, job, relationship, or chronic illness and how I worked through them. Yoga helped re-form parts of myself. Travel helped open my eyes to seeing the world and people in new ways.

But that’s all my self – not my Self.


Swami Satchidananda was talking about understanding the difference between what is permanent (Self) and what is impermanent (self). Who we really are – our soul – is permanent. Our impermanent self is generally how we define ourselves – by our body, job, clothes, names, home, desires, the list goes on endlessly. If we can understand and truly know the difference through vigilant discernment then we will no longer feel unhappiness. Change won’t affect us. There will be no disappointments, no fears, no heartache.

We will be free.

This freedom is the result of yoga practice. Lots and lots and lots of practice. Buckle up, it might take lifetimes…



1 Satchidanada, Swami, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali/translation and commentary by Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Publications, Yogaville, 1990, p 118 (Book 2 Sutra 26)

Happy times


“I feel happy and they all feel happy being there, so they make me happy and I make them happy. We just spend a little happy time together, that’s all.”1 That’s how Swami Satchidananda describes giving a dharma talk, sharing yoga, and essentially – what yoga is. Happy times.

Last week I subbed a Restorative Yoga class. Teaching restored my own energy, my sense of self, my connection with the Divine. The most beautiful thing about teaching for me is feeling peace and joy resonating from the students. That’s the whole point to me. And in turn I receive and emit that energy as well.

While teaching may seem like giving (and it is) I get so much in return that I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve even when it feels like I have nothing more to give. Teaching nourishes me, lets me practice, and reconnects me to what is important.

As a mom my priority is always my son but lately I’ve been running on empty. The years of sacrifice and giving have drained me and even my son recognizes that I’m not the same person. “I have two mommies, is the other one coming tomorrow?” He may mean something completely different in his 2 ¾ year old mind – but it breaks my heart anyway.

I took the time this weekend to be alone, to be quiet, to be slow. I smelled the newly sprung flowers, lay in the sunshine and stared up at puffy clouds forming and reforming in the bright blue sky above. Those moments, while short in the big picture, melted away long held tension. I felt like me for a moment again.

I watched bees discover blossoms and nestle inside. Bees take nectar for themselves and in turn give pollen and help create more flowers, more nectar, and more life. Taking enough to keep yourself going is necessary when it prepares you to have more to give. Sometimes we forget that we need to take sometimes, we need to take care of ourselves in order to take care of others, we need some nectar to sweeten our lives in order to create more sweetness in the world.

Yoga gives me a little happy time to remember that sweetness.

1 Satchidananda, Swami, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali/translation and commentary by Swami Satchidananda, Integral Yoga Publications, Yogaville, 1990. Book 1 Sutra 15