I remember telling my mentor almost a year ago, ‘if I ever seem to feel a little down, ask me if I’m going to yoga. Yoga always changes everything!’ Yet, my mind has this way of later rationalizing, especially when I’m not feeling much joy, that skipping yoga is okay. ‘I’m so tired, my body’s sore, I have to get up early tomorrow…’, on and on the excuses go.
I find myself in the midst of 9+ hours of yoga a week, feeling better in this moment then I can remember feeling ever. The beginning of this training brought with it anxious anticipation of what was ahead. My mind wanted to future trip and worry about things that had yet to happen, and likely would not have happened, except that now, I was beginning to manifest these fears.
Of course, my body is currently a little shocked by the sudden additional yoga and my mind is learning so much at once, leaving it a little tired at moments, but this is also what is giving me the energy and focus to handle this deep balance of work, life, and yoga training all at once.
The Sutras remind us that, it is not just our minds that need movement to avoid complacency, but just as important, our bodies. It is no coincidence that the amount of activity I make time for, directly mirrors the amount of joy and peace I feel. Any activity is better than no activity. But the activity I am referring to is conscious movement of the body with the intention of feeling better, letting go and clearing our heads.
Imagine how you would feel leaving a yoga class if your teacher only had you do pigeon on the right side. At best, you would feel unbalanced and less than satisfied. Your body would recognize what a difference doing only one side does to us.
If we feel this difference from just one stretch, imagine how drastically this changes our bodies from just one class, better yet, a lifetime of classes. Of course, when we don’t have a regular practice we don’t notice lack of it because, well, our bodies don’t know the difference. Yet, with just a little effort, the results are immediate when we start moving.
There is no stronger motivation then already feeling the difference in my body & mind over such a short amount of time. I wonder how it is possible I could ever do less, when it makes me feel so good. However, our minds are like that, and until we learn to discipline them, which is an underlying foundation of yoga, we will not be able to stick to anything long term.
So I ask you, the one reading this, resonating with these words, lets make a vow right now to ourselves and to each other. Let’s commit to deepening our practice, no matter what. No more excuses for not going. No matter what, we show up on our mats. We will do this until we no longer have to think about it, and then we will do it because it is a part of who we are.
The more connected we are to our practice, the more connected we are to ourselves and this my friends, is the path to enlightenment.