During a yoga class the other morning, my teacher mentioned that there were many layers of bliss. It caught my ear because I promote bliss as something to strive for in the sense of Self-Care. So I asked my teacher to explain what she meant. She obliged but her answer makes sense in the context of yoga. If you haven't tried yoga yet, it might not make sense. But I can tell you that this morning in another class I was taking, I discovered bliss in many ways from tuning into my breath, learning new sequences and finding strength I didn't know I had. I also felt extremely blissful when the teacher played a tune during savasana (final resting pose) that I often play myself when teaching. It was so soothing to my soul. Anyway, here is my teacher Barbara Adams of Yoga Village explaining the "Many Layers of Bliss" which I absolutely loved!
"In yoga we often hear about an 'ultimate experience' called peace, bliss, ecstasy, samadhi, absorption, harmony, union. It is a state of perfection and the result of impeccable thought and living – and so, often sounds unattainable for us ordinary people.
I do think being in this state as a steady condition is a lovely intention, but quite beyond me. However my practice has caused me to realize that there are many moments of harmony and that those moments can be nurtured and grown. With mindfulness, it is possible to notice these moments and with intention it is possible to open to and embrace them. Life provides the offering of many moments of harmony in which we experience truth. There are teachings that ask us to open our minds so we can grow.
I love how the physical practice gives us a tangible tool for exploring this expansion towards harmony, truth, bliss. We come to our asana (postures) with our views of what is true about our bodies and the poses yet will find out we are often mistaken. One layer of bliss is simply to realize a mistaken thought or to see where something is blocking progress. Another layer is becoming aware of options for discovery and growth. An important layer is believing in our strength that allows us to let go of old thoughts and habits so we can be open to truly new awareness. And then there are all of those moments where we feel something that is True. These moments can also be considered layers, like perhaps the first time you understand how pressing your hands into the floor changes everything that is happening all the way to the shoulder or how lifting up out of the pelvis can relieve hip pain, or really understanding how the yogic philosophy is fully present in the physical practice.
Experiencing bliss can be thought of as a seed that can come to life, taking root and expanding. And although we can envision an ultimate experience, we are experiencing bliss as we progress towards our fullness."
Barbara, ERYT-500, has been the owner of Yoga Village Fountain Hills since 2003 and Yoga Village Scottsdale since 2006. She has studied and practiced several styles of yoga, but has enthusiastically embraced Anusara Yoga since 2003 and is Anusara certified. Barbara loves ALL that yoga offers and has especially focused on alignment and therapeutic approaches in her studies. She is deeply appreciative to her fellow teachers for daily inspiration. Barbara has a MS in Counseling and Human Development and worked in behavioral health for 15 years – she is delighted to see how yoga can bring contentment to so many hearts and how the yoga philosophy weaves seamlessly with her Counseling studies.
There are many moments of bliss in our lives, like when we're holding a brand new baby or watching a beautiful sunset or kissing our lover. Yoga allows us to enjoy these moments even more because it teaches us to be more aware – more mindful – of the beauty around and in us. If you've had yoga on your bucket list…don't hesitate another day! Get to a class now!