If you do not pay attention to your journey, never experiencing the path, the ups, the downs, the way you impact others along the way, and instead only focus on your desires, your goals, your imagined destiny, your hard earned endpoint will often feel empty and satisfaction will be short lived. It is our connection to the journey and our connection to our environment and our fellow humans that creates contentment, fulfillment and happiness.
All of life, passengers on this globe, traveling with limited resources of air, water and soil. All but human kind in synch with each other. Now human kind must step up, and make the hard decisions. We must preserve versus exploit. We can continue to decimate other forms of life for profit, or choose to limit growth and live in harmony with nature. Only with care and work can we ultimately live in security and peace.
People who seek the truth, and choose to walk a spiritual path often struggle. The search for truth and meaning is non-directional and lacking focus – no map provided to the seeker. You wonder, Is this really my life? Is this what I am meant to do? You may look for fulfillment in relationships, or work. You may search for something that feels intuitively familiar, but yet seems so distant. You struggle to be satisfied with “Life”. Don’t despair. Realize you are doing exactly what all conscious humans have wrestled with. The path you walk is difficult, due to your consciousness and open eyes. You search for the lighted path. You have a journey that you must become aware of and accept. You are a truth seeker. Your revelation will be found through love. Better to be on the path, rather than unconscious. Smile. Be happy. You are exactly where you should be.
In all the years I have been practicing yoga, I have encountered numerous teachers who understand the theories of asana. They have no problem explaining the most technical points of a pose. A few gifted teachers take it a step further. They understand the most technical points of the pose, but they understand that without the breath, an open curious mind, and a willingness to focus intently without judgement, the practice is nothing more than exercise. They give you the time and space to practice. They do not tell you how to feel. They don’t tell you how to feel because that is your experience. They simply teach the pose, and give you space to breath and have an experience. Then you choose to do a pose like exercise, or you choose to find the beauty and poetry of the pose, and move from the outer to the inner, it is ultimately your decision. Eventually you must climb above the physical struggle and face the ego and its struggle to accept at first the asana, and eventually the life, your life. Your limits, your weaknesses, your strengths and gifts, the dark and the light. There is a delicate balance between, your mat, your world, and yourself. If your practice does not serve you, and enhance your life, then you should make changes, it is pretty simple. Yoga can heal you, can harm you, can change you for better or worse, but it can only do these things with your approval.
When I first started yoga, 25 years back, I went to two classes that were way too advanced. Day one and two, I experienced the horror of too many down dogs, forward folds, all the hamstring stuff for a beginner. Then I went to level 1 classes for maybe 2-3 weeks. I should have stayed with level 1 or 1/2 for a longer period, but I then went back to 2/3 classes. I did this for the first 3 years. It is a common way to begin. I pushed props away the first 3 years also. Figured they were holding me back. Then one day I was in a class with a teacher that would become one of my all time favorites. It was a level 2 class I believe. At that point I had a decent physical practice. The class was doing a relatively basic pose, triangle, Utthita Trikonasana. I had my figure tips resting on the floor. She came up and said something that has turned out to be simple and profound. She said, “you could make this really good pose, beautiful, if you just picked the floor up 4 inches underneath your hand, that would allow you to move your spine a bit further forward and create more space, it would be beautiful”, she then placed a block she had under my hand, and asked me to move the side of my ribs not facing the ceiling forward towards my front foot. She simply extended my spine. I do it everyday to my own students. It is nothing. The gift was the manner in which she did it. She could have said, “lets make this pose better, or lets fix this pose”, etc. Instead she acknowledged that the pose was not negative, it was fine and lets make it beautiful. As in beautiful inside and out, beautiful for the energy of the pose, beautiful for the affect on the mind, the space internally and externally. All of it. The beauty of not coming from a negative place, but instead from a positive one. It changed everything. I embraced props, moved forward, and a few years later took a training and eventually began to teach. At first beginners don’t even know what to do with props. then they often push them away, then, hopefully they embrace them and find the physical freedom of the pose and the simplicity of beauty.