There is an immortal teacher named Babaji. He is a nomad who freely walks the earth but also walks freely through time. He is of many bodies but no possessions. He is of many voices but one message. He is the teacher of all yogic teachers. When the mind of a student is in its final moments of holding he appears to inspire the yogi in making that final push. With his small band of followers, he is said to walk the jagged spine of the Himalayan mountains in North Eastern India. Atop the world, they have all fully renounced their former lives to live in the barren landscapes of their fully realized practices alongside a teacher as unreal as the goal of yoga itself. This is a metaphor for meditation meant to help new practitioners understand within stillness there is a most epic journey.

There was a young yogi who was desperate to be guided by Babaji. The young yogi journeyed alone into the Himalaya to bare the assault of cold and wind. It is no accident that Babji lives where he does. It is a dangerous environment. The top of the world is where life breathes with all its strength. Far above the center of the earth, away from the heat of the oceans, away from the forests and jungles; there is only cold, stone, and ice. It's when we brave death that we are most alive. After months of danger, this seeker finally found the troop of undying masters. He approached their fire and asked for his teacher. Through the journey, he had already been transformed and in the process earned the right to request an audience. Through the journey of meditation, we develop the confidence to approach our most sincere truths.

Babji looked up, "Will you obey me no matter the instruction?" The yogi agreed. "Then turn around and walk off the ledge." The yogi turned without a spark of doubt. In some strange way, he knew this is what he had been waiting to hear. This has always been a journey of undoing! The dark was thick. The shadows, unlike the ledge, went on forever. He walked off as instructed to be undone.

First, yoga is meditation. Learn to connect these two words! Yoga, as a form of meditation, has a dual meaning. Yoga refers to the practice. It also refers to the experience the practice leads you to. For this committed yogi, there was the walk and then the fall. The practice refers to the walk and is everything you think of as the practice. It includes the various exercises and postures, breathing techniques, and meditation techniques. The practice leads to the experience of yoga as a journey leads to a destination. Yoga as a destination refers to the fall. This metaphorical fall is at the end of practice where nothing is being done, and when in perfect stillness and silence the thought process simply dissolves to leave in its place perfect clarity and sensitivity. There can be no effort here. A pose is an effort. A breath-technique is effort. Philosophy is an effort. Meditation is the slowly forming understanding that we are allowed to not perform our lives. We have the right to not participate and in that moment of inspired removal, a yogi discovers life is managing itself. Life is fully automated and when we recede it continues. Like a child who takes their hands off the handlebar of their bike, the joy is sensing the journey as unstoppable. Meditate to fall into the currents of the world. Feel a thousand thoughts from a distance and notice they are orbiting intelligently around a single truth. That intention is yours to discover. Life; every cell, person, country, animal, and natural force are also orbiting this unspeakable purpose, governed by a something wise enough to create the world. Again, yours to discover. But first, walk off the ledge! Consider a spiritual practice is only as successful as the stillness that comes after the performance. If there is no stillness after practice then the destination was not reached. It would be as if the yogi, after hearing the instruction of Babji, refused and sat by the fire despite the immortal teacher's instruction or even worse, turned around and went back home.

This fall is your savasana or a seated meditation after class. Or if you're feeling bold, during class!

The more capable you are at sitting and stopping the more intelligent your decisions of living and moving. But, that ability to control yourself is the consequence of falling and surrendering to wonder. It is more effective to approach meditation as a chance to touch that wonder rather than using it as a means of becoming better. Again, this is a practice of undoing.

The story of Babji is an intricate symbol of our minds. Our minds are the Himalaya, close to the universe, just below the mystery of life itself. The purest expression of the mind is objective awareness. It is the summits of the Himalaya where no life, plant or animal (symbols of ego and identity) can live. In that storm of frigid cold, rock, and ice there is a band of yogis protecting some forgotten insight. Babaji, the immortal teacher, is the eternal insight. He represents the eternal truth that life is something to cherish despite what it appears to be. A yogi is someone who recognizes they've forgotten life's magic. Present to their own jadedness they take it upon themselves to remember! So, the yogi treks into the summits of their own thoughts and sensations to find this cluster of epiphanies for themselves.

This discovery depends on a willingness to abandon ourselves.

Yoga is letting go of what no longer serves which is obvious enough but also what we cherish most deeply.

Yoga is also a sacrificing of what we believe is absolutely necessary. "Walk off," Babji said. Let go of the body. Let go of the world. Stop the breath. Still the muscles. Dissolve the mind. Kill what you think you are!

Death is not attractive. It's hard to hype. It goes against our biology and our culture. Yoga is a rebellion against what you hold as valuable. If you are not triggered in your practice you have only entertained yourself.

What is being sacrificed in practice? The mind is what complicates our realities but we believe reality is what is complex. Life is easy. Try your best. Be kind. Be strong. These are things we know. The practices work to remove and not add to the complexity of our lives by transforming our relationship with the mind. The reward of sacrificing the mind by doing things that trigger us is the relief of embracing reality completely. The yogi is no victim of circumstance. That is why when Westerners go to India, the birthplace of the yogic mind, they are often shocked by the joy and generosity that can exist in such oppressive poverty. By mentally sacrificing the ego the mind releases its mental-tensions and falls openly and curiously into the body. The body gives the mind access to the world. When sensations aren't judged against expectations or preferences, the yogi discovers that bodies and reality are inherently pleasurable. Even poverty, disease, and starvation. Divinity is the awareness of unshakable goodness. It is one of the greatest insights of contemplative practices. When egos learn the grace of dying our bodies are reborn into a world that has and always will be radiating magic.

This falling point is often much further away than we are willing to go. Be mindful of comfort zones. They exist throughout the journey. To reach this destination demands more energy than we believe we have. To support the completion of the journey, yoga as a practice is a method of collecting said energy to reach that distant point of letting go. That's why a yoga teacher holds you longer than you want to in a pose or why a class is sequenced to get you into a shape you think is impossible. The point is not the pose or the hold but the energy levels necessary to overcome those challenges. With the influx of energy coming from the yoga techniques (postures, chanting, and breathwork) combined with rituals that remind the yogi of the meaning of the techniques, the yogi becomes more alert and perceptive than they were. We experience the non-specific word of energy as wakefulness. Wakefulness is the only point of practice. From wakefulness comes truth because as the mind of a yogi wakes up they become present to their own biases and now have enough power to blast into intentional objectivity, far away from the gravity of their own ideas, finally at the top of their own minds with Babji and an immortal truth. Imagine a light bulb growing brighter and brighter. The dark corners of the room are made visible. Imagine that this light bulb is now as bright as the sun, which would necessitate a physical transformation but play along. Imagine this light bulb is as bright as the combined stars of the Milky Way. Nothing in our galaxy at that point would be hidden. It continues to increase its luminosity as its "body" becomes more capable at processing energy. It's so bright at that point that everything goes black. That is the mind and body through meditation and yoga. Transform the body to empower the mind. Learn of yourself to see beyond the mind. See something that can't be seen. Know something that can't be understood. Who are you when you come back from that? Again, this is a creative way of describing the psychological experience of intense meditative practices which are as simple as not moving and breathing deeply.

Everything in yoga is about becoming more awake. Wake up with the Sun. Breath deeply. Move the body. Take cold showers. Eat right. Sometimes don't eat at all. Hold your breath until its weird. Read inspiring words until you feel something move inside you. Be with empowered people. Sit down. Collect more energy. Do it all again, tomorrow. Then, sometime between remember to stop take that energy and wake up to what you have and are already. Keep sitting. Finally, give yourself permission to let go and awaken to something other than what you know.

After that fated step, the yogi falls. Slams into the rocks below. His body is broken. He is dead. Babaji tells his tribe to go and collect the corpse. The corpse is brought to the fire. Babaji puts his hands over the yogi's chest. Rebirth. The yogi wakes up confused. Babji says, "Good thing you didn't hesitate. I wouldn't have brought you back if you did." The yogi is welcomed into the troop as a fellow immortal follower of truth. Do not hesitate with this dimension of your life. Meditate now because tomorrow will be too late and even if you jump, that doubt will sabotage the rebirth. Make the final sacrifice easily and then the epiphany will never be forgotten. That epiphany being; Life is more than good, even when it takes everything away. If you remain true Life will always bring you back to where you belong.

At that point what we wake up to is very important. The traditional yogis would suggest you stay with Babji. Stay detached. Live at the top of the world, at the crown of the mind. But, what about our lives? Life is a work of art to be shaped and experienced. We are all on that path and now we know there are two directions. To the mountains or to the cities. The cities lead to destiny. The mountains lead to the divine.