StillnessOct 03, 2022 06:03PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer
The practice of yoga calls us to find stillness.
Stillness of mind
Stillness of body
Stillness of breath
In our stillness we will find the answers we are seeking; we will find solace in the silence, and we learn to appreciate the present moment.
During my journey over the past 20 years, I have continually reminded myself of this idea of stillness. However, it was not until recently that I finally embraced this idea from a physical and emotional perspective. As a society we get caught in a tangled web of activity, moving from one task to the next or perhaps one relationship to the next. This is our own inability to just be still and potentially alone, yet stillness is necessary to find a deeper connection with ourselves and our dharma. The path may feel uncomfortable or foreign at first; I have certainly felt anxiety in the stillness. However, this stillness creates space in our lives for new experiences, new ideas, revised pathways and possibly a new direction for our next endeavor.
In a yoga asana practice I have begun to educate my clients on the importance of finding stillness. One may wonder how it is possible to find stillness while moving through a yoga program. The answer is simple yet hard to achieve. When we find our deepest expression of a posture, we are then offered an invitation to hold the asana, to breathe, to engage and to release thoughts that may be diverting us from the present moment. This feeling of stillness is a euphoric state of contentment when we truly embrace the moment. The need to control, the need to push or pull, the need to compare—all of this is released in that moment. What becomes paramount is the stillness and steadiness of breath fused with the mind surrendering into what is happening at that very moment.
This idea by definition is Ananda—a state of “bliss body”. It is a moment in time when the stress of the world halts and our mind and body and breath are in union. Ananda is achievable for all individuals and should also be viewed as moments in time, not an everlasting feeling. It is said that the sages from thousands of years ago perhaps experienced a prolonged state of Ananda, engaging in deep meditation in nature and removing themselves from society by practicing complete seclusion. This was likely a beautiful space to be in, however, in modern culture we need to acknowledge that bliss body is temporary. Perhaps at the time of death we all reach the eternal state of bliss or heaven like sensation, but our experience of Ananda here should be more realistic.
Embracing the present moment, accepting the challenges, luxuriating in the moments of euphoria, and appreciating our moments of stillness and silence will all lead us on a path to happiness. Our time on a yoga mat, in meditation, walking through a forest or along a sandy beach—these are all opportunities to experience stillness and contentment. Our troubles will diminish, our mind will become clear, and our bodies will be grateful for the moments of calm.
The next time you catch yourself moving quickly onto the next “thing”, onto the next relationship or frazzled; take pause. Sit down, breathe, place your hands on your heart and belly and just feel the sensations of the rise and fall of the body. Allow thoughts to come and go without becoming attached. Create a safe space for you to simply exist, in harmony with your life.
Stillness seems like such a simple concept, and, it is, when we remove the complications or obstacles in our lives.
Stillness is your birthright. Now is the time to cease the moment.
Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey; Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey; Roseland, New Jersey; and Delray Beach in Florida. NiyamaYogaShala.com.