We sit cross-legged, dripping with sweat, in the hot yoga studio at the end of 75 minutes of intense flow. The lights are low and the music is soft. Our teacher asks us to bring our hands to heart center and bow our heads while we reflect on an intention that we set at the beginning of class. We raise our prayer-shaped hands to the spot between our eyes. We bow and say, “Namaste.”
Namaste: “the light in me sees and honors the light in you.” Those of us who go to class a lot say the word often, and its recitation alone makes space for more compassion, acceptance, and appreciation for ourselves and others. But how often do we stop and consider what that light actually is? How much time do we spend in reflection about our unique gifts and how we can bring them into the world?
Be the Light is a community art project that encourages people to do exactly this. The installation is a 24’ x 8’ structure with spots for more than 1,100 candles and intentions. People write how they will let their light shine more brightly, then illuminate a candle to add to the display. This community of people committing to shine more brightly breaks through the literal and figurative darkness.
Since starting my yoga practice three years ago, my light has shimmered even more brightly. While my regular “Namastay-ing” keeps the idea of my light at the forefront, flowing through the postures reminds me to find the flow in life.
To hold a bound half-moon, I must be fully present in the current moment. This skill, when practiced off the mat, helps me tune into my moments of greatness so I can really appreciate what makes me shine. Falling out of a pose is great practice for moving past failure, which is a prerequisite for living a big, bold, authentic life.
So if you want to shine more brightly, I invite you to participate in Be the Light. The installation will be up through December 26th on the 2200 block of Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray. And while you’re there, consider popping in to Mind the Mat across the street to start a practice that will help your light shine even more brightly for years to come.