2002-06-22 / Columnists

Health and Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Walking The Labyrinth, Walking Yoga

Last weekend, I had the privilege of conducting a yoga workshop at the Rockaway Artist Alliance ArtFrenzy.  I must take this opportunity to commend the fine work of all the artists in the Alliance but in particular, all kudos to their President Geoff Rawling.  Geoff has been instrumental in guiding this group to the acquisition of the beautiful site in Fort Tilden where art has a rightful place on our peninsula.  The gallery shows, the programs for the children, the summer school, and the festivals are a tribute to his conscientious work and belief in making art available to all of us in a beautiful, natural setting.  I am so thankful and proud of him!

Walking the sacred labyrinth is a form of yoga in that it combines the movement of the body with quiet reflection.  The labyrinth is designed based on the laws of sacred geometry where the rhythm of the circles leads us on a spiraling journey to our center and back again.

The Cathedral of Chartres in France has one of the oldest and most well known labyrinths, which has become a famous pilgrimage point of interest.  It was designed as a tribute to the Blessed Mother.  The tradition of the labyrinth exists in many cultures and can found painted on stone in churches or carved out of grass in fields or made out of circles of stones.

Walking the labyrinth is a body prayer.  As you enter the path, you clear your mind and just follow the twists and turns of the journey.  And it's all about the journey.  How do you feel as you wander along the path?  What emotions, thoughts arise?  What do you want to let go of?  What do you want to take with you?  As you meander along, unlike a maze, you do not have to think of which direction to take.  You just follow the path to the center.  The center represents home.  The safe place at the center of your being where all the answers exist.  Your intuition or Wise Self lives and prevails.  Here you stop and listen.  When you are ready you begin your journey out.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who were willing to take the walk.  The children naturally laughed and giggled and broke into a run on the path.  Some others commented how emotionally overcome they were.  Still others found the journey exhilarating.

We can find the experience of walking the labyrinth in our daily lives just by taking a walk in nature.  Breathing and letting go of our "virtual backpack" and following a simple path will allow our creative side, our intuitive selves to open up and come to the surface.  Just be there for it.  Listen respectfully.  Trust yourself.  Honor your inner Wise Self. After your walk, take five minutes of reflection time and write a journal entry (without judgment) or draw a picture of your experience or just make a note of how you are feeling at that point in time.  That's all you need to do to start a routine of self-nurturing that will take you on a journey to your center.  A journey to Health & Harmony.  If I can assist you, coach you or be a mentor on your journey, please do not hesitate to ask.  Call or e-mail me at AskDrNancy@aol.com.

May The Blessings Be!  

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