[Warning: A bit of strong language ahead.]
Many are doing it. Oodles are practicing it. Plenty are teaching it.
Yoga is far trendier today than when I started practicing almost 20 years ago. Though, I would argue that the yoga I found to be so life-changing is not necessarily the same yoga that is attracting the masses today.
Just to clarify, this is not another article about what real yoga is, isn’t or should be.
I honestly believe that only we can determine for ourselves what we want to gain from it. And in turn, that will ultimately determine what we get out of it. If we choose to approach yoga as just an exercise, then that’s our decision.
But what if we didn’t do yoga just for fitness?
What if we did this too…
What if when we stepped on our yoga mat we understood that touching our toes is about more than whether we can touch our toes.
What if we questioned more often why we do a pose, and worried less often why we can’t.
What if how we get into a pose was more important than how far we can go once we are there.
What if we paid more attention to how our movements affect others than how our movements look to others.
What if we killed ourselves with kindness rather than insensibly beat up our bodies.
What if we spent just as much time on healing the pain when our heart has been stabbed as we do straining our muscles so we can feel the burn.
What if we didn’t just practice yoga on the mat, but off the mat too.
What if we ceased defining our yoga practice by how we appear, and instead by how we behave.
What if we discontinued all the empty talk, and started to lead by example with a meaningful walk.
What if we put more importance on aligning our heart with our actions than we do with stacking our knees over our heels.
What if instead of repeating words because they sound good we spoke words because they are true.
What if we put an end to believing in our own bullshit so that we can start to clearly see the facts.
What if we accepted that we will all screw up and be an asshole. But we don’t have to be a screwed up asshole.
We can be strong and confident, without being arrogant and callous.
What if we understood that it’s no one else’s responsibility to make us happy, and instead worked on cultivating our own contentment.
What if our beliefs and truths were in sync with our actions and words.
What if we agreed that not all relationships were meant to last forever and it is possible to move on gracefully, rather than spitefully.
What if we appreciated that what is best for someone else might not be best for us, and that there is no one to blame.
What if telling others what they feel and need was less important than listening closely to what we say and why.
What if we used these words less: authentic and un-yogic—
And lived these words more: real and raw.
What if we discerned and didn’t judge.
What if we made a pact that when my purpose and your purpose are not in tune we can both dance to our own rhythm and still share the floor.
What if a prerequisite for balancing on two hands was being able to stand grounded in our own true self.
What if we didn’t just do yoga, but actually tried to practice too.
What if we preferred a yoga mind over a beach body.
What if we practiced a soul search rather than just a seated twist.
What if we meditated on life rather than fixated on things.
What if our intention was in how we go rather than in what we get.
What if we transformed the world rather than performed a pose.
It’s how we think.
The words we choose.
It’s how we act.
Trusting our internal cues.
It’s a discipline not an art.
It’s an attitude from the heart.
It’s just yoga.
Author: Lyn Gerfin Kehoe
Editor: Toby Israel
Photo: Author’s Own // Flickr/Take Back Your Health Conference