I practice yoga so that I can be open to the multiplicity of experiences that life offers, not to shut myself off in an internal cave of detachment and neutrality. I want to have the capacity to fully feel grief, pain and sorrow, because I know that shutting myself off from them also shuts me off from being able to fully feel love, joy and bliss.
We practice yoga in order to practice presence.
We use the breath and body as a tool to create presence. We use complex asanas to help us stay present even when we’re confused or off-balance or uncomfortable or failing. We use simple asanas to help us stay present even when we’re bored, complacent, dealing with the mundanities and repetitions of daily life.
We practice so that when we’re sitting in traffic, we can resist the immediate urge to reach for the phone or change the radio station. We build our capacity to simply breathe, feeling the breath in the body, to look out the window and observe the light glinting off the side of a building.
So that when we lose someone close to us, we don’t need to constantly have a drink or a smoke or a shopping spree or a Netflix binge or a pint of ice cream in order to numb ourselves. Instead, we can feel the heaviness of that loss. We can surrender as we let the waves of sadness wash over us. We can trust that the waves will eventually subside.
So that when we finally reach that long fought for goal, we don’t have to deflect the praise we’re given. We don’t need to downplay our excellence and our hard work. We are open to the joy it brings.
We practice so that whatever situation we face, we have the capacity to be present. To be with the fullness of the experience. To meet it with openness and curiosity. To live.