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Transformation Through Living; Breathing Yoga

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by Lori Flower

Lori Flower. Photo by Dave Mora.
Lori Flower. Photo by Dave Mora.

Yoga can remind us of our essential spirit; our universal connection beyond the everyday chaos of human drama and relationships. It is an invitation to transformation. When you change, everything changes!

There I was, trying to stay afloat in my first year of college 20 years ago. While establishing my new adult identity, I had somehow lost track of being in my body. My brain was working on overtime, downloading massive amounts of information. In my first yoga class, when I was asked to sit still, breathe and pay attention to sensations, I could hardly cope with this simple instruction — I didn’t have time for that!

I had signed up for a whole semester of yoga to earn my physical education credit. To my surprise, I found myself seething with rage and defiance. My mind was frenetic, like a restless animal wanting to break out and run away. I strongly considered dropping out of the yoga course. However, something compelled me to stay in the cage-room and confront that irascible temper within.

Somehow, during that initial 90-minute journey into myself with traditional basic postures, I began to make peace with my wild mind, connecting it to my body, heart and spirit. All aspects of myself integrated and became friends, working together. At the end of class, I floated out of the gym and across the soccer field. Everything I looked at was so alive and filled with life-force! I nearly cried in beholding the beauty! Why hadn’t I noticed this before? The trees! The blades of grass! The people walking by … I was humbled by it all. I was no longer caught up in my own narrow, isolated world.

This is what I learned:

WITNESS (Inspired by the teachings of Osho): To witness is to access a clear picture of what is going on, without judgment.

ACTION: Yoga requires that we act, and each action carries with it the totality of our accumulated experience.

INTENTION: The direction and purpose of our actions comes from our intention, and empowers us to align with our truth.

SURRENDER: Surrender is a state of willingness to sit with what is present and active within, while letting go of the need to control outcomes.

The more I practiced yoga, the more I learned about self-discipline. I actually started to feel good again!PassionYogaPic2 copy While ignoring my body, I had put on 20 extra pounds during that first fall semester. As I became more self-aware that spring, I found my power to shift unconscious patterns and began to eat healthier. The pounds shed simply and I became more peaceful in my limber and relaxed body.

After graduating six years later, during which time I steadily practiced many forms of yoga, an opportunity opened for me at Omega Institute to work as their staff photographer. There, I was blessed to be in the presence of great yogis and healers, such as Ram Dass and TKV Desikachar. It was my job to “witness” them with the eyes of my camera and document their transformational yoga in the world, so that the wisdom of these practices could reach a wider audience.

Having discovered the power that exists in yoga practice, I have chosen to dedicate myself to yoga and share its healing gifts. Yoga is more than a career choice for me. It is a living, breathing practice that fosters respect and connection with every radiant being.

The next level for me is evolving partner and community practices, where we move yoga beyond the islands of our mats. I am called to serve and guide people into deeper levels of sensitivity and reverence through interconnection. I invite you to join me in exploring deep, personal transformation through yoga.

To learn more about Lori Flower’s yoga classes, workshops and retreats, visit: www.karmiconnection.com Flower teaches Vinyasa Flow, Acro Yoga and offers Thai yoga bodywork. Her creative offering “New Vision Yoga—Explore new territory in creative growth through the Art of Yoga” will begin in January at Yoga Mountain Studio in Montpelier.

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