The Great Escape
Nina C. Payne
“The light that yoga sheds on life is something special. It is transformative. It does not change the way we see things; it transforms the person who sees.” — B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga is poetry in motion and poetry is yoga in words. They are the same expression in different forms. Yoga and writing both keep me immersed in the present moment. Sometimes this is difficult when I am struggling with a pose or having trouble coming up with the perfect words to express something genius. When I relax and surrender to the experience, they find their way to me. The genius is in the realization that there is no perfect pose, and there are no perfect words. Authenticity is the truest and noblest of endeavors for yogis and writers alike. I believe this to be true in almost every aspect of life. If we come from a place of humility and honesty, we will be received, in the same way. Yoga is a remembrance. It’s not about being flexible or strong; it’s a remembrance of who we truly are. We are not our material possessions or even our thoughts. We are pure consciousness connected to everything and everyone. Yoga is about tapping into that place inside of us that transcends judgment and thought a place of divinity that is different for everyone. The basic tenants are the same – cultivating loving kindness and compassion for self and others. The strength and flexibility it gives us physically is a great side effect, but the strength and flexibility that it offers us mentally, emotionally and spiritually is what true yoga is all about. Whenever I have a problem, I know I can always take it to the mat or my pen. Without fail, I come out feeling healthier and whole, as a result. A great Yogi once said, “Yoga is like mathematics, it cannot fail”. That can be said for all creative endeavors. They offer us a way to purge and release negative emotions that have a way of keeping us feeling stuck.
As a writer, I hope my words can offer loving kindness and compassion and give hope to others. Maybe offer a different viewpoint that people can relate to. Some people have a difficult time putting words to their emotions, which can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. As writers, if we are successful, we can give words to emotions, in turn easing the pain, easing the suffering. Most of us seek validation, we find comfort in knowing we are not alone. Yoga also provides a sense of connection, a feeling of belonging, of being a part of something much grander than these bodies we temporarily occupy. Yoga is love, yoga is hope and for many of us, yoga is life. I believe we are all artists in one form or another. I also believe anyone can be an artist, and anyone can be a yogi. Yoga, like art, is the great equalizer. It doesn’t discriminate; it’s an equal opportunity creator. It is a creator of who we truly are, helping us to discover our true essence. This essence not only longs to be unveiled and discovered, it begs for it. My practice of yoga has transformed me internally in ways I could have never imagined. It keeps me from places that sometimes feel very dark and ugly. That is what writing has done for me ever since I was a little girl. Yoga and writing are escapes for me. There are sometimes negative connotations to escapism, however, what if that escape gives you peace, comfort, and balance? What if that escape keeps you from places that are too dark and too ugly? As artists and yogis we find our unified space in a land where all things are beautiful, all the opposites are embraced equally, without judgment. In our land, we find a palace filled with elegance, grace and goodness in a world that sometimes feels cruel and harsh. In our land, we find that love really is all there is.
Nina C. Payne lives in Solana Beach, CA. She is a poet, novelist, wife, a mother of two, and a registered yoga instructor. Prior to her current life, she was managing a fast paced financial services company. After the birth of her first child in 1998, she left the corporate world to raise her children and discovered her passion for yoga. Her love of yoga goes beyond physical postures, and she finds great pleasure in studying the philosophy, psychology, and physiology of yoga.
Her debut novel, Moments in Time, is strongly inspired by her real-life experiences. Having lost her brother to cancer and then her father four months later to a broken heart, it explores the obstacles many of us face and the courage it takes to overcome them.
Nina loves being at one with nature, and enjoys many other passions including reading, all genres of music, hiking, rain forests, cooking, and long walks on the beach.