The PuzzleNov 01, 2021 07:01PM ● By Nicole Zornitzer
As I was reading a book recently, I was inspired by the author’s discussion on how life is one big puzzle and each day, if we are “woke”, we are given the opportunity to appreciate the tiny pieces as they begin to fit together. This got me thinking about the offerings that yoga has provided to me over the past two decades and subsequently my desire to share with my students and readers alike.
It was not too long ago when a conversation caused me to really think about the meaning of yoga and how it affects the practitioner in all aspects of life. I felt myself frustrated by the conversation, feeling I needed to justify how yoga is not just a physical practice nor is it purely what happens on the mat. Yoga for some may be an opportunity to disconnect from life for 75 minutes, or it may be a moment to push the body to its limits or possibly a moment to just breathe and be still. Yoga may also be the act of studying scriptures and engulfing oneself into the traditional yoga philosophy to find inspiration and motivation when feeling disconnected or lost. Yoga may be a moment for others to come together, share space with like-minded individuals. Yoga may offer a haven to acknowledge feelings or thoughts that tend to get stuffed away in dark places of the body. The yoga mat may become the eternal tissue that absorbs your tears, your emotional ups and downs, your deepest moments of yoga or acceptance of self.
Yoga, while not a religion per se, is my religion of choice. Yoga has been my guide for over 25 years, my one stable force, my energy when I felt depleted and my space to express myself fully and unconditionally without judgement. Religion can take on many meanings for everyone, but what is important as a source for solace is experiencing the feeling of being connected, to feel loved, to feel the most authentic version of self. Yoga has helped me in all aspects of life, work, marriage, motherhood, friendships and most recently experiencing a global pandemic. When I consider all of this, I realize that yoga is my religion and my haven of goodness. It has taught me to embrace all views, to experience loss with grace, to feel happiness with a humble heart and to enter each new day with a clear mind knowing that we can never truly predict what may or may not happen. The lessons are quite simple when you analyze them, treat each day as a new start and be the best you can be. If you are presented with challenges, or triggers to your own emotional stability, take them in stride and return to the lessons learned over a lifetime of commitment to a practice called yoga; become a light to the external world.
Our lives are a puzzle with no manual. When we live life fully and take risks, follow our instincts, and do the best we can do in every given moment, we are experiencing the journey to piece together a puzzle that once seemed an insurmountable task. Since reading the book that inspired me to write this article, I have begun to fully embrace each day and hold each precious puzzle piece close to my heart. Some pieces I wish I could throw into the ocean, others I wish I could send on a bicycle far away, some pieces I disposed of too early and now long for their return. Others I know await my masterpiece. In the end, I can credit yoga, the study of yoga philosophy fused with the physical benefits of being a yogi to my evolution. We each have our own puzzle to piece together. Some of us may complete our puzzle in this lifetime and others may not. What is important is to embrace each piece because they are in essence part of your soul and probably the most expressive representation of you.
Nicole Zornitzer, ERYT 1000, yoga therapist, founder of Niyama Yoga & Wellness Shala, located in Randolph, New Jersey; Upper Lake Mohawk in Sparta, New Jersey; Roseland, New Jersey; and Delray Beach in Florida. NiyamaYogaShala.com.