I have to admit that what I like best about yoga is the workout. Each and every time, though, I am surprised by the after effects.
There is something spiritual about each practice. No matter the studio, no matter the instructor, no matter the style.
I’m not always conscious of how the practice touches my spirit; instead, I just know that I feel different afterwards.
After the practice, a kind of unconscious enlightenment happens. Gratitude rains down, and I feel expansive.
It’s as if each practice stretches my spirit another inch.
I am not too tall. I never have been.
And ever since I was little or, I should say younger as I’ve always been little, I’ve been patted on the head.
To this day, as a adult, I still actually get patted on the head.
Turns out, the head is where our Seventh Chakra is located. It’s called the Crown Chakra, and it’s tied to our spirituality.
Several times, I’ve been sitting on my yoga mat, waiting for class to start, and I get a pat on the head from the instructor going by. I can be sitting at my desk at work and get a pat on my head from someone coming in to say good morning.
Even my grown children pat me on the head.
I don’t know how I never grew out of this and, at this point, I guess I’m just kind of used to it.
It’s just that before yoga, I never knew about the Crown Chakra. And, even though my crown has gotten lots of attention all my life, I am only now just discovering it.
I have to say that anytime there is good news, or a coincidence when unlikely things line up, or I feel like I’ve just heard or witnessed something profound, I get goose bumps.
But, these days, along with those goose bumps, comes a feeling in my head. It’s at the top, on the left side, and it feels like a vibration or a tingling.
Sometimes, not always, I feel this at the end of yoga when we sit with our hands in prayer, letting the effects of the practice settle in. The left side of the top of my head tingles.
Now, ordinarily, I’d say I would not really ever go around talking about the top side of my head vibrating. It sounds hokey, but I made a deal with myself to be honest when writing about my experiences in yoga, and this is one of them.
I think what I’m feeling is the energy in my Crown Chakra.
For many young girls, a crown is pretty special, and growing up, I was no exception.
Every year, I was a princess at Halloween. I didn’t care about the costume or the mask. I only cared about the crown. I was a princess for the crown. I don’t remember much from nursery school, but I do remember laying on my mat for naptime, trying to look like I was the best napper, so that I could be tapped as the Sabbath Queen. I wanted to be chosen because the Queen wore a crown.
I didn’t know that, all along, I had a built in crown, already there.
Yoga has put me back in touch with my spirituality. It’s made me re-evaluate my beliefs in God and how I fit with the big picture that’s supposed to be my life.
I had no idea that moving around on a mat could do this to me.
When my children were in nursery school, as parents we joined them each Friday for something called Shabbat Sing, and really that’s one of the last times I was in touch with my spirituality.
Those Fridays would touch my spirits, just like the yoga practice does now. I’d sit with my children on my lap, singing the songs I had sung as a child, feeling connected to them, to my younger self and to something deeper.
But, the most important part of those Fridays was the visit from the rabbi. A kind and gentle man forever remembered, he would walk around the circle to bless each child.
Patiently, slowly and singing along, he would lay his hand on each child’s head, giving his blessing to each in this way.
Maybe this is sacrilegious, but I think anticipating the approach of the rabbi and his blessing on their heads was probably akin to waiting for Christmas and meeting Santa.
It was monumental for my children, a highlight of their week.
He was acknowledging their spirituality, and they’d sit there beaming.
I just never knew then that what he was doing was igniting the energy in their Crown Chakras, and I didn’t know that it would be another 20 years before yoga would do the same for me.