December 27, 2012

Where do we go from here? ~ Dr. Paula Grace Watkins

“How can I love you better?”

All this asana. I love it.

Yep, a 27 billion dollar yoga industry (and that’s in the US alone) tells us we are an asana loving group of kids.

But where do we go from here?  Where are we going?  What’s the point? How do we measure “progress” on the spiritual path and do we want to?

Desikachar states:

If we want to test if yoga is working, then it should show in the relationships that we share with our family, our friends, our colleagues.

The Dalai Lama’s leg is not behind his head. At least not in any photos I’ve seen of him and it wasn’t when I met him. Neither is Aung San Suu Kyi’s. Nelson Mandela? Nope. Haven’t seen any of them in eka pada sirsasana. In fact, many of my role models are probably terrible at most of the asanas I’ve dedicated so many hours to practicing. Of course, we know this but let’s state it here:

 The outer body is a reflection—not the reflection of one’s inner state.

If you’re not sure whether or how your relationships are changing, it can pay to ask.

In fact, it’s a beautiful thing to ask. To a degree, this kind of reflection commonly happens in the corporate world where employees undergo routine performance reviews.

But what about in our personal relationships with lovers, friends and family? A good place to start and a way that has been beneficial for me is to simply ask, “how can I love you better?”

I’ve been surprised, humbled, confused and intrigued by the various answers loved ones have given when asked this question. Their responses have ranged from the relatively lofty (“Connect with me more. I’d love if we meditated together more often”) to the more mundane (“I’d love if you would stop leaving food scraps in the sink!”).

Turns out “how can I love you better?” is a powerful question that invites self reflection and provides a “test if yoga is working”.

That simple question can help to guide us toward where we go from here, and it may or may not include putting our leg behind our head.

Paula Grace Watkins lives between Sydney and Byron Bay, Australia. She’s an academic (PhD in refugee mental health), yoga teacher, activist, blogger and raw food fanatic. Visit her at www.thehumangarden.com.au.





Editor: Malin Bergman

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