|What are you about?
Who are you?
What do you want to be about?
Why do you want what you want?
This may lead you to what you really want. This life time is so short and sacred. We have so little time to be all that we can be. Yet so little of this time is spent developing our true desire. So much time is wasted. Yoga practice is about spending some time developing the qualities that encompass our potential. What are the highest qualities? The qualities that facilitate our highest potential. What are our lowest qualities? The qualities that facilitate dysfunction and imbalance. My feeling is our highest potential (which encompasses all aspects of our life from health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to wisdom, kindness, gentleness, peacefulness, balance, gratitude, generosity and awareness) is given a name which encompasses all these qualities and that name is yoga. Yoga practice is the time dedicated to facilitating those qualities which truly enhance your life (your highest potential).If you are not directly using this time you call Yoga Practice to facilitate these qualities you are deceiving yourself; it’s not a yoga practice. So understand how you are enhancing focus, gentleness, kindness & consciousness, qualities that enhance every aspect of your life and truly facilitate wellness.Are you quiet? Are you listening? Are you aware of breath? Are you being gentle? Are you being competitive, reactive, vain? Are you bringing awareness to your practice? Are you strengthening the qualities that truly enhance your life? Are you aware of the dark side–are you feeding the competitiveness, vanity, reactiveness, judgment, criticism, etc.Remember how short this life is. Don’t waste it. Understand the shape of your body is irrelevant. The flexibility of your hamstrings or whether you can do a handstand is irrelevant. Those things are a distraction; they are vanity and ego. They have nothing to do with your highest potential– health & happiness through gentleness and awareness, those things will not improve your relationship with yourself or others! only detract!
Even physically speaking your body will feel better and last longer if treated gently, kindly and moderately. How you want your body to look is just vanity (one of the scourges of the human race). It’s programming. It’s meaningless. Let’s stay with the meaningful. Ultimately your state of mind has a huge effect on your physical health. So ultimately if you want your body to be healthy you have to work on your mental state, reducing stress (probably the largest factor of your health). Well, what creates stress more than your vanity, competitiveness, critical-ness, judgmental-ness, aggression, reactiveness, etc? These are also things that not only effect your body negatively but affect all relationships in your life negatively.
So when you work on the things that improve your physical health, you are really working on eradicating the things that detract from health, the things that facilitate stress and imbalance. To do this you begin with awareness and you start to become more gentle, kind, conscious, gracious, calm, content, etc. You notice the same things that improve physical health also improve mental, emotional and spiritual health, as well as the health of all relationships in your life. What more could you want from a health practice (yoga practice). That’s the goal of yoga, “to enhance one’s life.” So that is what you are doing when you do your yoga practice. You are working on enhancing your life. So make sure you are doing that. Make sure your yoga practice is dominated by your wisdom and not your ego or vanity! And believe me, it is much easier to talk about this than to do it. Because doing it means breaking a lot of old stubborn habits, and you know it’s not easy to break habits, especially the “one,” the one we all have and the one that facilitates most of the other ones. I’m talking about our incessant, redundant, unnecessary thoughts that are constantly disquieting our minds and distracting us from the experience we are having as well as facilitating the mentality which we are trying to eradicate: The craving, aversion, the past, the future, the judgment, the criticism, the competitive, the reactiveness, etc. To break this habit we need to start starving it, removing its food. We need to start being present, paying attention to what we are doing and one things for sure that we are breathing. Not only are we breathing, but we’re trying to breathe calmly and fluidly. Now, you can’t pay attention to your breath and be thinking about anything else. So in paying attention to your breath you are not only quieting down and becoming aware of what’s happening right now (because the breath is flowing right now and you are paying attention to it), you are also not feeding any mental energy or unconscious loyalty to the old habits of your mind. If you stop feeding something, anything, it starves and dies. So in essence you are killing the thing that keeps you down. The old habit pattern of the mind. You are also cultivating a new mentality, one that is quiet, calm and peaceful, one that no longer reacts so strongly to outer circumstance. Therefore, outer circumstances have less power over us because we are not reacting to them, not allowing them to facilitate stress. We notice we are more peaceful and present, life becomes more full and satisfying, and the emptiness that was left by the lack of thoughts is somehow filled with wisdom and understanding, which leads to more peace and contentment, which leads to more wisdom and understanding, etc. Through this natural process life becomes a rich life regardless of the shape of your body or size of your bank account.