I was introduced to yoga and poetry simultaneously in college, and since then these two arts have always been closely connected for me. I had never paid much attention to poetry before and honestly didn’t have much patience for it. But, sometimes things happen in our life that seem to radically open us to a new perspective. And for me, at that time of my life, I was heartbroken, mourning the end of a relationship with my girlfriend at the time. The raw state that I was in set me up to dive into some new experiences that I had never been receptive to before. I poured the grief and pain I was feeling into a deep exploration of yoga and meditation and between practice sessions I found great inspiration in the poetry of Rumi. Rumi’s poems celebrate human love and also a love affair with life itself that helped to reinvigorate me, and in tandem with yoga, eventually helped to heal my heart. Rumi and other poets like Mary Oliver, Kabir, Mirabai, and Hafiz have been tremendous companions over the years, guiding my life.
Like yoga, poetry also promises great rewards in exchange for the depth of our attention, our patience, and our willingness to be surprised and transformed. And like yoga and other great art, the best poems help to wake us up, and reveal the world to us in a new way. As invigorating asanas stretch and tone our bodies, may the poems we explore this month also stretch our mind and soul.
You can find some of our favorite poems in this month’s recommended reading The Soul Is Here For Its Own Joy: Sacred Poems From Many Cultures, Edited By Robert Bly.