Zach Jenkins appears in the book Yoga The Secret of Life by Francesco Mastalia
“Our purpose is to love each other, to love the planet, to love existence, and to dwell in the blessing that is Being itself. In every situation, every relationship you have, there is love. It may manifest differently, in a kind word or smile. Our purpose is to experience the blessing in the moment of coming across another being and gazing into their eyes and they are gazing back into yours. I think those are the moments we are really being here.
I had been meditating at a Zen Temple and a friend of mine said, I think you would like yoga. I was actually very hesitant at first and thought “I don’t know if this is going to be for me.” I had all these ideas about what yoga was, but then I found the practice, I fell in love with it, and I wanted to leave more.
I wanted to learn yoga in the traditional sense, and also to see the roots of how it has changed as it has come into the United States. Originally I went to Rishikesh, in Northern India, in the state of Uttarakhand, Pradesh. I did my first teacher training at Parmarth Niketon Ashram. There was some asana, but it was mainly focuses on pranayama and meditation. Being in India, I was soaking up the darshan. Having the experience of being in the presence of teachers like Swamiji, Sri Moji, His Holiness the Dali Lama, and taking from their teachings. I was very grateful to be in India and to be in their presence. One thing they all said was, “You don’t need to be here for this, you can find the teachings anywhere.” It was great to realize that everywhere on the planet in a sacred place, wherever you are.
Yoga has given me skills and tools with which to catch myself in a situation and keep it from being divisive or disunitive. For example, when you are in the world interacting with people things can happen where an issue may come about and thoughts and feelings come up. So instead of following in a behavior that has either been learned through society or through experiences in life, there is a moment where you catch yourself and focus on your breath and the experience in the moment. Maybe you think to yourself, “In this moment how can I act in a loving way, in a compassionate way? Instead of separating myself from the experience, how can I use this as an opportunity to come heart to heart or act in a way that is more connective, more loving?”
When we come across another being, it is a gift to us. Thinking about life in that way, every interaction you have is yoga, is union. Sometimes we forget, but if we can be conscious of it then every interaction is loving and unitive, where you can see the experiences in the life of the other and grow through that. I try to live in a way that is promoting that union, so that every action is a good action and I am ot distracting myself form that gift that is the other.
Think about the union that can happen within our life, our connection with other lives. Then you can think of it even more, the union that can happen between yourself and existence all together. Think of inion within the body as a microcosm, union between the self and the other, and then union escaping even the dichotomy, the opposition of self, into a more unitive experience of existence itself.
I hope that through the practice, through surrendering to the Devine, that the veil of division that separates me from you, and from everyone around me starts to lift and all that remains is just a singular version of existence itself. Yoga is an experience of being human. It is an experience of existing on this planet. The secret, if it is a secret, is right before our eyes.”