What I love about yoga, and what I have always loved about yoga, is that it isn’t about yoga.
This practice has the capability of drawing forward all of our deepest thoughts, desires, feelings, and frustrations. I knew that the first time I stepped onto a mat and know it even more deeply now than I have before.
Our reasons for taking a class are things like, “I want to be more flexible”, “I want inner peace”, “I think it would feel good”. I want to tell you beginners that yes, these things will happen for you if you practice and remain open to all the teachings that will come your way, however, what will come even more frequently are moments of hardship, of struggle, and of enormous courage. Why? Because yoga is a practice of moving with yourself and not away from yourself. We move in time to our breath, making different shapes with our bodies that resound from the inside out. We don’t practice poses based on the idea that we are half-empty, half-good, or ineffective. We begin, yes, even in our first time, from the standpoint that we are already full.
I also want to tell you that your yoga practice will bring you face to face with yourself and absolutely everything that you are. First your physical self, then your mental self, then your emotional self, and every now and then glimpses of all those in their entirety. When any of these moments come, don’t run from it or try to change it, simply bask in them because you are basking in every single component your precious, perfect self is made of. A phrase that comes to mind is one that I’m borrowing from the late writer Adrienne Rich of “refining truths”. Yoga will do this to you. It will refine the truths of your life in ways only you will know and many that are shared with others.
In the midst of it all there will be silence. Not often but sometimes it will come. Sometimes you will know what to do with it and sometimes you won’t. When you are there let it overtake you. This silence can overwhelm you and it can heal you. Without any hesitation I will say that it will make you feel small. This is a good thing. To be small is to be in awe of all that around you and most of the time we feel very big, our problems feel very big, and the world feels too big. The silence comes to remind you that you are both big and small at the same time. This is also a good thing. This is your yoga.