I often incorporate poetry into asana classes because words have an incredible way of bringing us into our bodies. It seems counterintuitive when we expend so much effort trying to get out of our heads, but poetry speaks to us on a more visceral level. When reading or hearing certain words, we shift into a space our heart occupies— where a deep sense of knowing resides and we are able to discern truth from illusion. This recognition of truth reconnects us with our intuition, and integrates the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual aspects of self. In this way we understand poetry and yoga as two paths of self-inquiry both leading toward self-evolution.
Here is a favorite poem of mine:
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)