I have always assumed that my yoga practice was separate from my life. Pretended it was a place to literally forget about everything and hide, shadow myself from the rest of existence.
In some ways it is true, you do forget about the rest of the world, responsibilities, and pressures as you step into presence. You walk into this place that simply asks you to be with what is happening in the moment. I with every molecule of my being considered running away from everything, as it would be easier that way, but no I stayed. My desire was not to run anymore, to stay and devise a plan to limit suffering. To stay in the moment is easier said than done in most cases, but with time it came to be easier. We do find a relief from the stress in our life through the practice. For those 60 minutes we experience bliss. Not bliss in the sense that there is nothing challenging us, no obstacles to overcome because that would be wrong. We find bliss in the experience of letting everything else go that will not serve the moment we are currently in. Why experience worries of the future, right now? It simply washes away our focus, and sense of calm with one big wave of emotion.
Through yoga practice we learn to face fear, overcome challenge, and build confidence in ourselves. We face the fear of falling, we overcome the challenge of your mind, and realize we are capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. Each asana (a.k.a pose) is designed to release the body in some way through stretch or strengthening. The stories we tell ourselves start to expand from pose to pose, you aren’t good enough, flexible enough- “i mean jeeze look at that girl over there she can practically touch her head to the floor.” “Oh the teachers looking at me I better deepen the pose to show her how flexible or strong I am.” In Warrior 2 for instance my shoulders tend to get tired and I want to drop my arms so badly. Sometimes I choose mindfully to release the tension, other days I practice to push through the sensation. Why would you push yourself through the sensation of your arms burning? Well because just like in life it is a challenge and if we always decide to drop our arms because they are tired, we never develop our strength, and never learn to find comfort through difficulty. We are essentially just running away.
When I first began practicing yoga I would always move away from sensation. My legs are tired- oh I will just straighten them. My arms are tired- oh I will just put them on my hips. I think you get the picture. However it is through discomfort or challenge that we learn to find comfort that we learn to face the challenge and develop our inner strength- that is when magic happens. We realize our tendencies, mine simply to run away.
What is this magic? Well it’s awareness, it’s knowledge, and it’s presence. To be fully aware and conscious with the choices we make and why we make them. Most of us live our daily lives unconsciously. Thoughts and choices presented to us, and usually we shy away from the options that we deem negative or we do not particularly like. When we really love something we fully immerse ourselves in it, almost getting lost, and when we don’t we tend to run away. If we detach ourselves from results we limit suffering. Instead of clinging to the outcome we desire, simply let everything fall into place the way it is supposed to. This does not mean stop trying to achieve goals, it means accept all situations/people that present themselves, they are an opportunity along our path. They are presented to us as either a gift or for growth. They may be the support we need when we need it, or maybe they are our challenge that brings with it, magic. Either way they are a blessing.