As I travel deeper into this path of Yoga, I have realized that the greatest power of life is to be able to get as close to the pure form of any item or element as possible. It is important then to develop as strong and as intimate a connection with all aspects of your life as possible.
One of the best examples of this can be demonstrated by a day that I spent with some students in Okayama, Japan recently.
It was a cool and beautiful fall day. My good friends and students, Jaro and Ake there in Okayama are good friends with some organic farmers, who farm some land and call it Wacca Farms. We decided to spend the day at the farm and go and pick some organic vegetables directly.
First of all, just to drive into the countryside outside the city felt amazing. The air was much fresher and the feeling of the earth and the sea and the sky lifted my energy and spirits immediately. Sometimes we forget how important it is to get into more intimate contact with pure nature. If we spend too much time around cities, buildings and concrete, this can drain our energy and cause us to feel disconnected from the pure and more natural part of ourselves.
When we arrived at the farm, it was like an experience of heaven. The colors of the red-brown of the earth and the bright greens of all the plants immediately made us feel more alive. The air had a fresh, sweet smell to it. Many times, we simply forget how much our environment affects our state of mind and our moods.
We then proceeded out into the fields of amazingly healthy and vibrant looking plants and began to collect them in boxes. There is truly something miraculous to directly collect your food from the earth, as opposed to only getting your food from stores and supermarkets. There is a far greater feeling of closeness and intimacy with the food and with the earth itself.
It is really hard to describe the feeling unless you have experienced it yourself. The vegetables come in relatively the same form, but the feeling is completely different. It is almost as if you could feel the love of the plants and the earth. Everything looked brighter and more colorful and there was a sense of harmony between yourself and the whole environment.
The entire experience that day was so satisfying and so deeply moving. Those of us who made the trip not only felt a closeness and harmony with the earth, but also with each other and deep within our own selves. I did not realize just how spiritual an experience a trip to a farm could be.
I really thought about why it was such a powerful experience and I came to the conclusion that there was a purity to many parts of the day that are important to a deeply powerful and meaningful life. When we get closer to the source of the different parts of our lives, we can experience a greater purity within ourselves. Getting closer to the source means that we become closer to the most basic elements of life and of our selves.
Going directly to the place where the food was grown created a sense of closeness with the food and with the earth from which the food came from. That kind of closeness, both physically and energetically created a closeness with the most basic parts of our own bodies and the deeper parts of the self. This, in essence, is what our yoga practice is all about. Getting closer to ourselves in as many ways as possible.
When we got home that night and prepared the vegetables that we had picked that day, there was such a warm and joyful feeling to the whole process that is normally not present when just getting your food from the supermarket. The food looked better, tasted better and was more satisfying physically and emotionally then food that comes from unknown places.
After the whole experience of that day, I thought how amazing it was that something so simple and easy could have such a powerful effect on my body and spirit. It taught me once again that the energy of Yoga is all around us if we will only look closely and deeply enough.