Basic Training: Love-What-Is Meditation

Far from home, a military wife rediscovers the heart of her practice.
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Far from home, a military wife rediscovers the heart of her practice.
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Two years ago I left behind my friends, my family, and the studio where I taught yoga and moved to Germany to support my husband, who is on active duty in the US Army. When I arrived at the military base, I encountered a sea of identical uniforms and speech full of mysterious acronyms. Even telling time—using the 24-hour clock—was confusing.

With my husband's help, I searched for the local yoga community. Although I knew there were many yoga studios in Germany's large cities, we found none in the small town near the base.

Disconnected from the life I was used to, I stayed in our apartment alone. Shiva Rea danced across my laptop screen, and I chanted the Gayatri mantra by candlelight, but neither ignited my spirit. My husband tried to encourage me, but our talks often turned into arguments that gradually escalated, until one day I screamed at him, "This is not my life!" At that moment, I realized I had fallen off the mat. I'd stopped living my yoga.

The next day, I went to the base gym and asked if I could teach yoga to the other army spouses. The manager smiled warmly. "We need you," she said.

My class included many women who were on constant alert, serving as their partners' first line of communication and support. Yoga gave them a quiet place of solace, a chance to feel connected to themselves and each other.

I hadn't bonded with the other wives before, but now I opened my heart to them and they reciprocated. At the end of each class, I drank in the sight of everyone smiling, hearts lifted and hands in namaste. One day a student told me, "You make people's lives here better." I realized then that I was truly living my life. My fellow spouses had made me a yogi again.

Love What Is: Meditation by Rolf Gates

When you are going through a difficult time, sometimes nothing you do to solve your problems seems to help. You struggle, but the changes don't come. Can you stop struggling for a moment and recognize the goodness in the life you have right now? Try this centering practice for 3 to 5 minutes to open to the beauty of your life exactly as it is.

Take a very deep breath in and a very slow breath out.

Sit up very straight. Notice that as your spine lengthens, your heart opens.

Now breathe into the space of an open heart—feel into the space of an open heart.

A heart that is empty, a heart that holds the whole world.

Breathe into a heart that can hold the whole world.

Feel into a heart that can hold the whole world.

Breathe into the sweetness of this moment.

Feel into the sweetness of this moment.

Allow yourself to be wholeheartedly alive and well in the life you have, now.

To listen to an audio version of this meditation, go to yogajournal.com/livemag.