Yoga symbolises the union between the form and the formless; the personality (or ego) and the spirit; of being and doing. There’s a depth to the practise.
I personally did not ‘get yoga’ until I got this. I had tried to take it up many times in the past because everyone said it’s so good for you, but I could not find the hook to keep motivated, no matter how hard I tried! It wasn’t until a trip to Mysore India with my two children that I understood – it’s not really about motivation or getting hooked. Yoga represents a way of life and the Indian people I met had an acceptance and simplicity in how they approached their practise (and life). It just is.
The yoga mat can be a metaphor for life – the sun rises with sun salutations, the day progresses with the everyday trials, tribulations, joys, routine, ease and flow, similar to the sequence of asanas, and ends with sleep or in yoga, shavasana.
Every day we wake up and repeat the sequence of life – and similarly in the primary series of ashtanga the same 72 posture are repeated 6 days a week.
Yoga has taught me to look more closely at the ‘daily grind’ with fresh eyes. Although on the surface, repetitive activities can appear boring and mundane, and it’s tempting to go onto auto pilot, when I train myself to pay attention, the regular, and routine holds freshness, newness, and discovery. For example, I notice that the morning sunrise looks very different each day. Or with more attention I discover something new about my husband or learn something that my child did at school that day – and through this attentiveness life becomes fuller and more ‘alive’.
I think yoga trains us to pay attention – to the body, to movement, to the moment, and this is both on and off the mat. With more presence there’s the potential to experience life more directly through the body and soul, and not just through mental cognitions or the ego.
(Sept 17 YTT)