Have you ever been in a hot yoga class, just thinking to yourself “What in Buddha’s name am I doing here?”
You know what I’m talking about. You have been holding chair pose in a 105 degree room, your legs are shaking, your butt muscles are clenched so tight you fear they will never relax again, sweat is dripping down your brow into your eyes, and you can’t breathe, but the teacher is oh-so-kindly reminding everyone to breathe—“yoga is about the breath.”
Yes—there have been numerous times where I have questioned my intentions in that pose: the uncomfortable feeling running through my muscles; the increased heart rate.
Why am I doing this to myself?
Yet I keep coming back. I enjoy it enough to endure yoga teacher training.
Either I am a masochist or I’ve found that yoga is the true teacher of a peaceful life.
I love that pain. I crave that pain. That pain has led me to pure happiness. And at least 10 percent of the United States population is right on board with me—they love yoga too! Yoga has taught me the most important philosophy that you can apply to your life, every single day:
“Everything is perfect, nothing is permanent.” ~ Dharma Mittra
Every moment is exactly how it should be—it will not last forever. So soak up each second and enjoy that moment, for it was designed for your journey.
When you are ready to give up, your body feels that it has had enough, and you think “I cannot physically do this anymore,” know that the pain is not permanent, but it is perfect.
In that moment, you are exactly where you are supposed to be: sweating out those cocktails from last night’s dinner, legs shaking, skin crying. With each drop of sweat, with each ounce of ego —letting it all go!
This is where I have found myself.
When I’ve wanted to give up on that ledge of uncomfortableness and unfamiliarity—I let go, and I found my truth. While sitting on that edge, you can consciously see everything that serves you and everything that does not. You discover what to nurture and what to dismiss.
In my most trying times, yoga has been the outlet that saved the shine in my soul. Whether it was a breakup, the loss of a friend, problems at work, or just the daily grind—yoga has been a place where I feel safe to let go and be.
I dive in to my practice and I let the sweat, the pain, the tears, and the edge sort out where I am meant to go next.
I let it be in each breath.
There is something so inspiring and spiritual in enduring that uncomfortable period of time and to arise from it with a strong, shining soul. If you’ve yet to experience the gift of yoga, I highly encourage you to give it a whirl. Imagine it as a counseling session where your mind and body are wrung clean of all negative thoughts and emotions.
To me, there is nothing better than that “yoga high.”
When I first began my serious yoga journey, my soul was dull. My heart was broken. I was stuck in a negative mindset. I didn’t even want to breathe anymore, let alone go to a class where all I was told to do was focus on my breath. So like any other masochist, I dove in headfirst into a 30 day yoga challenge.
With each inhale I felt alive. With each exhale I let go.
Did I finally discover the place where I could find happiness? Myself? My calling? Was I finally blooming?!
For us to blossom as individuals, we must endure the muck, the dirt, and the unclear waters. We must suffer to know happiness. We must endure pain to know pleasure. We must live to know death. And just as the beautiful lotus flower, we emerge from the murky waters with the most captivating colors and petals. We embody nature’s beauty and her grace.
We change with each breath, with each new experience.
Full of life. Full of brightness.
As humans, we were made to endure struggle so that we may grow and blossom—so that may discover the true nature of the world.
Just remember: it is not permanent, but it is perfect!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: lyntally at Flickr