This week is the same as most weeks in which we continue the difficult, not always fun, work on getting to our best selves. To say that yoga is going to “change your life” is overstating a truth. Yoga is a noun. It is a concept, a discipline, a practice: one often misunderstood and misused. Think of it like a hammer. It can be a weapon that can cause serious injury and even death. It also has the potential of building shelter if you are in need of it. Either way, the hammer itself has no power at all. Your engagement is required to determine its use..
So it is with the practice of yoga. It sits silently in books or in the minds of great teachers or in the yoga studio down the street. It has no power itself. It only serves as an invitation. One must engage with yoga to realize its potential, not only as a vehicle of change, but as a map as well. It is an instruction manual, not elaborate and specific like a blueprint but more like an Ikea instruction booklet which leaves more out of it than is put in it. It requires you to pay attention, to look at the pictures over and over -to notice subtleties. There is a lot of trial and error, and there will probably be some extra pieces at the end. I don’t think the geniuses at Ikea mean to do that, maybe they think we are mechanically smarter than we are. But the founders of the yoga practice DID do it intentionally. They wanted to weed out the looky-loos, window shoppers and quick-fix seekers from those who are actually striving for change. Those of us that want to break the cycle of karma we were born into or rewrite the misleading manuals we were given. To those people yoga is an invitation to realize their highest selves. It tells you at the outset that it won’t be easy, it won’t be fast, and it certainly won’t be just fun.
Change is hard. Changing anything about yourself is the hardest thing you’ll ever do. There are no shortcuts. The work is often hard, tedious and requires constant, tenacious effort. You will fail many times, but, as with all things that are hard fought for, the rewards are far, far greater and long lasting.
I invite you to participate in the practice of yoga.