Recently I've been challenged by a flow of emotions that have been difficult to keep breathing through with a clean consciousness. At one point, I even asked my teacher how to deal with anger because i feel "out of yoga," when I'm like this. She responded with the idea that our practice is not meant to take us out of our life, it is meant to put us into it with a presence that serves us to experience it with ease.
This idea really resonates with me...unlike other coping mechanisms [drugs, exercise, sex, drama, entertainment, food, shopping], yoga does not offer an escape from reality. Yoga offers an opportunity to remove the tangles of untruth and distraction so that we may get to the root cause of why we want to escape altogether. Yoga demands that we let go of the stories we tell ourselves, to drop the judgements and assumptions and expectations. The practice requires that we leave all of this and instead exercise thinking patterns and physical habits that actual support our nature.
A few nights ago an old high school friend had a layover in LA, so he and another old high school friend who lives in LA met me for dinner. As we sat and caught up about the last few years, I recognized that we were each at very distinct parts of life. One was beginning a new career and ending a serious relationship; another maintaining a career while raising 2 children; and the other adjusting to living in a new city with only a small network of people to rely on for support, ready to travel the world alone and without commitment. Inclusive of this variety, there we were laughing about old memories as if we were 16 again.
Somehow this kind of variety coexists with an ease that can be enjoyed without distaste at the dinner table. So this leads me to think that the same must be true within the individual - that I can be at different stages of process with regard to several aspects of being and still be in my yoga . For example, how often do we find ourselves enduring the end of an important relationship while maintaining a stable career and continuing to challenge ourselves in our fitness?
So I guess my reason for writing about my recent challenge is this: When you get into the study of yoga principles, it's easy to create this inflated image of what it means to be "a yogi," and to then battle with yourself about your progress toward becoming that image. Yoga, while it explains a process which leads to a state of "enlightenment" and "inner peace," in every step also conveys a message that being yoga is not about being perfectly joyous forever. Yoga itself is a process that unravels many aspects of ourselves as we open up to it.
cheers to the continuum of emotions that we are challenged and gifted with!