Fifteen minutes into the late evening practice, most of my new students are in their yoga poses to relax. However, their disposition isn’t calm yet. Even while relaxing in Savasana (corpse pose) they are in hurry to end class and their face looks tensed. They admit the reason to be the stress emanating from everyday work and personal life. Their antidote to stress had been turning on the TV, having a few glasses of wine, or tearing into a bag of chips. However, now they are here, trying to find a more creative way to relax but still carrying the burden of the day. Is there any way one can really sort it out? These thoughts encapsulated my mind as I met Bhavna, a 30 year old who is working in a law firm. What grounds her, she says, is spending time in park on a Sunday afternoon. She’ll sit on a bench and let her mind quiet down, noticing a squirrel crawling up a tree or textures of grass. After an hour in the park, her senses open up to the natural energy around her. It’s that energy she says that keeps her going. Bhavna has found a way to take refuge. For her, its nature. For me, its meditation. When everything starts to feel little too much, I take it as a signal that I need to sit down, close my eyes and let my attention sink into my heart. Most of the times I come out feeling more centred and confident to manage the tide. I leave behind the FOMO a.k.a. fear of missing out and the desperation to keep at it. Sometimes when I open my eyes, I find that a
problem doesn’t even exist anymore. At times, just resting my awareness in my heart or breath for five minutes has turned a bad day into a good one – a feeling of creative breakthrough.
The word refuge means place of shelter. The kind that lets you get in touch with your deepest Self. Your refuge place can be a physical location- a meditation corner, a park, or even your bathtub. Likewise, a repetitive activity such as walking, biking or swimming can offer an entry point into the space of refuge. And so, of course, doing asana practice is a powerful conduit to refuge. That deep sigh – ‘ahhhh’ you often hear in yoga class as one
person slips into first asana of the day- is the sound of people finding refuge. Everyone needs to know how to take refuge. Or discover their way of finding an equivalent of refuge. No matter how much you love your work, no matter how strongly motivated you may be, the power of refuge will only bring you closer to your goals and do so while leading a balanced life. In moments when going gets tough, if you don’t have a refuge regimen to draw strength from, life begins to feel like an endless treadmill and inspiration in life becomes hard to come by. Consciously choosing to take refuge and having a reliable way to do it helps one find new reserves of strength, stamina and life. It connects you to something that feels timeless and eternal. To Spirit. To Soul. And to the Inner Self. Embark on your first step towards a better life. Fina your Refuge. Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.