Be Still and Live

By Lynn Felder, RYT

With these words, Erich Schiffmann begins his seminal work, Moving Into Stillness:”Imagine a spinning top.”

If the top is aligned properly, it will appear to be still. In fact, the very center of the spinning top is still, and the movement is happening around that still point.

If the top is not aligned, the top will veer wildly about. And, even if properly aligned, it will wander around when it starts to run out of energy.

When we’re not aligned, we’re easily thrown off balance. When we run out of steam — out of inspiration — we get tired.

That’s why we practice yoga: So that, regardless of what is happening around us — the mighty winds of March, the torrents of April, the wild flowering of May — there will be a place inside each of us that we can tap into for stillness, peace and quiet. And from that place of stillness, peace and quiet, we can source our inspiration.

It seems as if it’s hard to get people excited about peace. It’s so … peaceful.

But real peace is not boring. Real peace is unobstructed energy. Imagine that: All the energy you’ve ever wanted or needed to do all the things you want to do: care for your family, work productively, create endlessly.

I went to yoga camp a couple of weeks ago and came back all fired up about improving my home practice and cultivating inner peace.

“I’ll take my ‘good’ mat home when I leave the studio,” I promised myself. “I’ll get up a ½-hour earlier and practice and meditate every day.”

Well, that resolution lasted about 5 minutes. Human beings are so peculiar. Why is it so hard to do something that’s good for us — even if we enjoy doing it?

When I practice first thing in the morning, I feel so much better. After practice, I feel strong and light and focused. I’m nicer to other people. I’m nicer to me.

When I take the time to align with the divine, my practice — and by extension, my life — becomes easier. It flows with grace.

So let’s make a Spring Resolution. Let’s take a little time every day to: 1) Align – to the promptings of our hearts, our bodies, the divine; 2) Unwind – relax; and 3) Shine - at home, at work, in the privacy of our practice.

We might be crazy spinning tops, engaged in our wild and abundant lives, but we can still find that stillness, peace and quiet within if we take time every day to Align, Unwind and Shine.

Copyright by Lynn Felder April 2008. Lynn Felder is an award-winning journalist, a yoga teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance and the author of the DVD “Gentle Yoga for Cancer Patients,” available at

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