This is a bit of a rant. But Elephant Journal readers are used to opinionated people.
I’m opposing a popular viewpoint. You might have noticed it among a ton of people who practice yoga, I’m sure. Here’s how it usually goes: I’m doing my morning practice/ going to this yoga class/ living at the ashram for a while because I need to get away. Or: he does his morning practice/ goes to yoga class/ is living at the ashram for a while because he can’t handle life. Lots of yoga students, and their criticizers—it doesn’t matter which—share the same misconception.
But here’s the thing: Yoga is not a way to escape. It’s a way to become more fully engaged.
If your greatest intention within your practice is to take a vacation from your daily life, or you think people who practice yoga are trying to become less aware of their experiences, you’re missing one of the greatest, biggest points.
When taken off the mat, yoga—asana, meditation, pranayama, the yamas and niyamas, the whole shebang—helps us embrace our life. All of it. Yoga teaches us to drop out of our mind, where the escaping into the past or the future happens, where the worrying, planning and rehashing happens, and arrive right here, right now. Yoga teaches us to go beyond our mind, and operate from a place of complete and total presence. When we operate from this place, we can fully participate in every experience. We can better handle our daily life.
Yoga is not a way to escape. It’s a way to become more fully engaged.
hot on elephant
July’s Full Moon in Capricorn: The Heart wants what it Wants. The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. How to Love a Woman who Scares You. Our Soulmates are Rarely Who We Expect. I Still Think of You. Men, Let’s Stop Fooling Ourselves: Size Matters. To the One Who Tried to Break Me. An Open Letter to the Fixers. How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD. How My Sister’s Death Transformed my Self-Perception.