After the Feast, the Rest. After the Expansion, the Quickening. Living in Feast - in Expansion - is tasting the essence Divinity. Holding space for lessons to be integrated and reflected upon is the Rest - the Quickening - receiving and integrating of experience.

A yoga practice will change and that is a given. It must. Great peace and new growth will be had when you are able to admit things that were once interesting to you have been replaced by something new.  This ebb and flow is the most natural cycle of the universe. 

On the mat, we cultivate our relationship with Expansion and Quickening. Transitional movements from pose to pose offers the opportunity to cultivate awareness of time and place; it’s the journey not the destination. Here we breathe and visualize and move our bodies and energies with intention. We integrate the process by sinking into the inner stillness of the pose itself through drishti and breath.  That is also the purpose of Savasana – the Quickening.

Expansion and Quickening are simultaneously occurring in different cycles in various arenas within our lives. I embrace this process with the mantra, “Who am I? I don’t know.” I am learning to get out of my own way, to bust down my inner walls and old belief systems, so I may rest in the understanding that my heart is an engine of bliss and my brain is an instrument of deep wisdom.  Yet like the snake, skin must be shed. Again and again and again. We must die thousands of times to live.

When I lived in Washington, D.C., I was a ravenous, yoga junkie. My social life was largely based around trainings, workshops, and retreats that I enjoyed alongside other vulnerable and inspiring seekers and teachers.  I found yoga to be healthy and sexy and edgy. I fell madly in love with Bhakti rituals, explored the sweet bhav of sattvic living, and embraced an elegantly nonchalant bohemian grunge. 

As a yoga teacher, I spent immense energy inventing dance-like flows and forming the perfect playlists. After all, this is what’s hip and packs a classroom. This is what makes you popular on the circuit. This is YOGA, baby!  Right?

A series of wild and serendipitous events scooped me from my cosmopolitan nest and landed me in Middle-America. My once-ravenous nature of outward yoga exploration began to Quicken. The seeds that were planted and cultivated during the past decade of Expansion began to grow roots. I became immersed in the mindful inward analysis of traditional, conventional, and religious ideas, as well as those of the esoteric, mystical, and revolutionary. I found deep delight in books, quiet meditations, and in authoring a book for my yoga trainings. Years of exploration led to integration, integration, integration. 

Admittedly, I embrace change more than most people. I find great excitement in trying new things, in living some and learning some, to reinvent barrier-less inner and outer landscapes. The understanding that I am comprised of both nothingness and everything-ness is my practice of faith. Faith, Sraddha, is not only my given spiritual name, it also represents the foundation for my wild affair with life and God. Again and again, I surrender my life to be a blank canvas in which to explore terror and freedom. Change is both the foundation of Expansion and the foundation for Quickening. Both/And.  

At this time in my life, my yoga is my ability to breathe and discern and Quicken what I have learned. I outwardly hold space for others so I may expand my inner space. I strive to understand my relationship with perception and reality, diving beneath a mountain of jargon that holds simple and essential tools to support my Awakening. I honor my body’s wisdom to navigate decisions based on the visceral feeling of Expansion and Quickening.  I have deep faith that the Universe loves me so much things are done for me not to me, so when old patterns bubble to the surface I see an opportunity to transmute them. My Practice encompasses equally a yoga mat and a vacuum, an overflowing inbox and navigating a new business, to gardening gloves and a big pour of wine… or two. 

I have learned that it takes courage to admit change is needed to claim who you are here and now, not settle for what you once were or who you are expected to be. At this time in my life, my Practice is to hold space for lessons to settle. I vertically receive, deepening my understanding of Authentic Self and claiming my role as a teacher. 

Lily Kessler