A wise friend of mine once said that all rivers lead to the same ocean. Taking into consideration all the investigating I have done on many different philosophies, sacred texts, and literature from various authors throughout the years, I concluded that not only was this true for me, but that all share a common thread in the tapestry of life which culminates in one word, yoga. According to the Hindu philosophy, yoga means to “yoke or join”; it is the union of the individual with the Universal Spirit.
In the willingness to unite with the divine in daily devotion, I use asana, prayer, and meditation as a vehicle to practicing yoga. The deepest, most innate experiences of yoga come from my time spent with nature, hiking, biking, playing in the water, and observing a sunset and a moon rise. A bird in flight, the sway of the trees, the feel of the ocean air on the skin, and my personal favorite, the starlit orchestra just before twilight, all fill my soul and remind me who I am.
“Nature is man’s teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eyes, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence,” said Alfred Billings Street. This quote captures a recent moment I shared with my husband beautifully. I had been speaking with the divine and asking for a feather as representation of our conscious contact. A week later, after “looking” for the feather, my husband showed me huge owl sitting in our tree at sunrise, and when the owl flew away, a feather came twirling down into our yard! There it was before my eyes, union with the divine.
Having deep ancestral roots in the Cherokee tribe, today I find practicing shamanism and energy medicine a way to integrate who I am with my primordial connection to creation. When I am often asked who my teacher is, I say, “I do not have a teacher,” for Pachamama, Mother Earth, and all life are my teachers. Aho!