At the suggestion of a friend, I’ve been reading a lot of Joseph Campbell lately. I recently watched his DVD interviews with Bill Moyers around the idea of myth and the hero’s journey. A piece of the interviews that really caught my attention is their discussion about the importance of having a sacred place in our lives.
For some, a sacred place is a building of worship, a labyrinth, or a natural setting that has a holy feeling. I sometimes experience the sacred at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, a church in my neighborhood. There’s a stretch of Riverside Park that’s canopied by trees many generations older than me. Most often, I find my sacred place on my yoga mat, in my small apartment, at sunset.
A sacred place takes us away from it all. When I step onto my mat, I let go of any expectations and responsibilities. It’s my time to just be with myself, which helps me to connect and build a very deep sense of spirituality. While a yoga practice is comprised of asanas (poses) and the breath associated with each, these are just the keys to a much wider kingdom. Through our movements, we are able to access a higher sense of self, our very best selves, the divinity and light that lives within each of us at our core.
Before yoga, I understood that there was a holiness in the world, that it existed somewhere out there. Yoga taught me that yes, holiness is out there, but it’s also in here, within my own heart. It is a perfect example of learning by doing. If we practice, if we come to the mat with an honest, good intention to find something sacred, we discover that the sacred is always with us.