Pause, Reflect, Love, Stand.

She sat on the edge of her bed, gazing out her window at the mystical forest across the street. She felt a rush of sensation through her body and mind, a little voice that was barely heard. Softly it spoke, “ pause”. Yoga teaches us to listen to this inner voice. This quiet, subtle but magnetic inner voice is the link between us and the divine.

-Samantha Waagenaar – 2020 VYC Ambassador- Nanaimo 

A back injury is what got Samantha into yoga. She didn’t really know what this yoga was all about but nothing else was working to help strengthen and heal her back in the right way so she thought she would give it a go. I attended a restorative for backs class and it was like magic! Her back had never felt better. Samantha kept going 3x/week, 2 Restorative and 1 Yin. When her back healed and she could do more, she started practicing Vinyasa classes and LOVED it! Yoga taught her to go beyond the poses to not be afraid to take a leap, or sometimes a small step, towards a direction that serves her. She now has an understanding in herself and loves herself deeply and unconditionally. Not only has she expanded herself physically and do things she never thought she could do, but her relationships have gotten so much more beautiful and magical. Samantha feels an understanding loaded with wisdom that comes from the universe and she has learned we are all a part of everything. We are all one. When Love is the answer, peace can be attained.

Pause. Definition: A temporary stop, rest or hesitation. 

She sat on the edge of her bed, gazing out her window at the mystical forest across the street. She felt a rush of sensation through her body and mind, a little voice that was barely heard. Softly it spoke, “ pause”. Yoga teaches us to listen to this inner voice. This quiet, subtle but magnetic inner voice is the link between us and the divine. To truly hear what this voice has to say is a struggle in today’s western world, because that would mean that we would have to pause, and that my friends, no easy thing to do. In yoga we are taught that we carry emotions, habits and beliefs from our ancestors within our DNA. This means the go, go, go attitude has been passed down to us through generations of western civilization. Including our own past experiences, are you able to see how this habit could be a hard one to break? I have found that through this human experience I only seem to pause when I am forced to. There had been 2 major pauses in my 33 years of life. The root cause of both of these have been due to a back injury and both of these times I was brought back to life from the teachings of yoga. Learning how to access the power of pause has been a journey. An emotional, remarkable and beautiful journey. The stillness that yoga provides, teaches us that pauses are a necessity in our lives and they are meant to be recognized and cherished. The pause in an exercise, a pause in the breath, a pause of the chattering mind. Pauses, allow us to reflect. 

Reflect. Definition: To cast back light, heat, sound or an image. Her gaze caused a moment of silence within her mind, which caused her to hear this calming voice. She listened again and it said “look in the mirror” Feeling slightly uncomfortable with this pause, and with the tiny voice that was speaking to her, she slowly walked over to the mirror in her bedroom. It was a full length mirror. She could see her entire body. She saw this everyday. Today was different, for instead of seeing herself , she saw through herself. With eyes gazing into the eyes of her reflection, the world faded away. What she saw, for the first time ever, was her true Self. 

A beautiful Source created this world, it created us. This beauty was passed down to us, but this powerful, magnetic, mysterious Source made sure to hide it in a place where one could only find it with continuous effort, and a determination to figure out who they truly are. Source put beauty inside of us. Who am I? Who are we? This question goes to the depths of the earth and back again. It goes deep. Deep inside of me. Deep inside of us. How far down are you willing to venture? Yoga has us look into the reflection of our hearts. Have you ever been to a yoga class and all of a sudden you started to feel emotional or even cry uncontrollably after a certain asana (pose)? Chances are it was after a big heart and/or hip opener. This happens because we get into a moment of pause, where we allow our body to reflect onto us how we are really feeling. We allow our stagnate emotions to flow through us. Cause and effect starts to become clear. I remember my first time experiencing an unexpected breakdown in the middle of a yoga class. I thought to myself “what the heck just happened to me?”. I had begun my search for the diamond in the rough, the pearl of a clam, the needle in a haystack. The conquest of finding true beauty, true Source, and therefore , true Self. Reflection will reveal parts about ourselves that we had hoped never to see. To be able to handle the sorrow, anger and frustration that may come up within this reflective process we must learn how to love. 

Love. Definition: A feeling of tenderly warm, deep affection. 

A few minutes into this mesmerizing stare, she gently began to smile. Her true Self became more and more transparent. Suddenly a rush of a sensation she had never felt before began to surface. She felt warm, blissful, unified and content. She asked the little voice, “what is this beautiful feeling I am experiencing right now?”. The voice whispered even more quietly than before, “love”. 

Yoga means to yoke or to bind. In order to understand love we must see (and feel) the union between everyone and everything in this universe. Union means oneness. On the surface we seem separate from nature, and separate from each other but in the place where beauty lies, deep inside you, there also lies the same beauty in another. That beauty is also found in nature. That beauty is Source. That beauty is love. Asanas and meditation help us discover the lost and forbidden feelings of love. Our bodies share with us its knowledge that nothing is separate from anything and the breath wisely guides us into the realization that we are never alone in this world. We all make mistakes. We all struggle. Reflecting on this oneness creates a feeling of safety, security, and stability. This is the time when we can start to create change. To create change we must have courage. To have courage means we must become vulnerable. Vulnerability led me to a place of empathy, not only for others and for nature, but also for myself. I am no better than anyone else and no one is better than me. This understanding is yet another thing yoga teaches. Once we understand equality we can start to awaken dormant senses within us. We allow the dormant feeling of self-love to arise and the feelings of constant insecurity or overconfidence to become a thing of the past. We realize how amazing we actually are. This is where real growth takes place. Within ourselves we find love. We stand for love. 

Stand. Definition: To set upright, to face or encounter. 

After years of seeking, she finally found true love. Her pauses became graceful, meaningful and plentiful. She continues to see her reflection in the mirror and when she does, she sees an image of love. For she finally understands that she is love. The soft voice would always make sure it was heard and she would always make sure to listen. The next thing the voice said was three times louder than it had been before. “Now take a stand” . 

Love may unite us on an internal level but how do we let this shine onto an external world? Taking a stand for our truthful love is how. We have felt this love through pausing and reflecting now we must share this love with humanity. To do this we must stand firm in the name of love. Yoga teaches beyond the scope of religion, for yoga teaches that there is no such thing. There is only spirituality. Whoever you pray to, or how you pray doesn’t matter, just as long as you are praying. We have a duty to our inner selves to keep asking our inner, quiet voice what to do or how to act or how not to act. We make hundreds if not thousands of decisions everyday. Personally, yoga has taught me to make faithful decisions. The answer always lies within the pause. It lies within the reflection. It lies within love. It lies within me. I will no longer allow fear to run my life. I will stand up for what’s right, for my Source. I will perform asanas and movements to express my devotion to the cause. 

“I commit to the ease and joy of receiving and giving love to my fullest potential”