Do you think yoga works?
Do you think yoga helps, but it doesn’t help with your job? And it doesn’t help you lose weight. You’re stressed, it’s not helping there. Challenges are impassible roadblocks. Your health could be better. Your relationships aren’t so good. You keep hurting yourself. Regular life is still a struggle. But yoga helps because it gives you a place to get away from all this.
Is this what you see, looking at your yoga, and your life? Is this what you see in the yoga going on around you?
It sounds like this yoga is a different name for something we all know. It sounds like this yoga is when you don’t want to try for good things in your life, because you might fail.
I’ve seen a whole lot of this “yoga” in my travels around the yoga world, in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, India. It’s not really surprising; everywhere you go, we’re all people. I don’t know any of us that much likes to fail. We do like security, we do like comfort, and we do like to feel special.
What I saw in these yoga communities, as I stuck around long enough, I was told I was special. Part of a select few on a path that wasn’t for everyone. I was not my body, I was something much greater than that. I was not of this world, this world was an illusion.
Liberating from difficulty? Sort of. Useful in our real bodies and this real world we all live in? Not by a long shot. It’s not working for people.
I saw groups of people bending over backwards to please their guru. I saw people become subservient to rules that weren’t their own, struggling to fit into lives that weren’t their own. I saw people become less capable – in their health, their work, their relationships – rather than more.
We get sick. We have trouble at work, and in our relationships. Pain comes. Everybody sometimes fails. The great part of human experience, what gives us something valuable to share with each other, is how we move through and around it all.
Yoga can be a very real help in this very real world. It can be something that gets you moving through and around it all very capably and happily.
You don’t need to change your name or your language. You don’t need to act “spiritual” or memorize old books. You just need to see it as possible. Believe that what you have to work with is enough. You can do it.
Yoga does make you more capable with finding, creating, and doing all kinds of real work in this world. It does help you lose weight, if that’s what you need. Yoga does keep stress moving in the right direction: out of your body, before it makes a home in you. Yoga can give you radiantly beautiful health. It keeps injuries away. You move more happily in your relationships. You replace struggle with ease, you meet challenge with calm. Regular life becomes extraordinary for you.
I’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds, who are able to do not much at all. I’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds, who are able to do a great deal. I’m convinced that what we have – what we all have – is enough. More than enough.
There’s no reason to hide behind yoga as a shelter from failure. That’s one kind of yoga, and that’s one kind of life. It doesn’t need to be your kind. There’s every reason to get up and move. There’s every reason to make your own yoga, and make your own life. It will be a good one. It will be yours.