At the end of the every class, we lay ourselves down for savasana, just as Mr. Iyengar is doing above. We concentrate on our breathing and we prepare the ground of our minds for the possibility of inner quiet, inner peace.

And yet how often during savasana – and even while doing other more active asanas – do we find ourselves caught up in the hope and fear-filled currents of the thought stream? How often are we pining for the past or fretting over the future, or even without a single thought to prompt us, awash in the full flush of a strong emotion – an upwelling of sadness or pride or fear or joy?

And how often do we then try to escape our feelings and even chastise ourselves? After all, aren’t we doing something wrong? Why are we ruminating over that insult we received last night or that compliment that came our way this morning, when we are supposed to be cultivating inner peace?

Or could it be that it is our attempt to escape from just such emotions that is the biggest obstacle to inner peace? Could banishing feelings cause the greatest suffering of all?

Consider what Pema Chodron has to say in her book “When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times”:

We might feel that somehow we should try to eradicate these feelings of pleasure and pain, loss and gain, praise and blame, fame and disgrace. A more practical approach would be to get to know them, see how they hook us, see how they color our perception of reality, see how they aren’t all that solid.

Perhaps inner peace is so vast and so compassionately all encompassing it can even make room for the ugliest, loftiest, pettiest, bitterest and sweetest of emotions.

We are now halfway through the quarter. Feel free to bring any questions to class this week that you are having about your asana practice, yoga philosophy or your journey to inner peace!