Do you ever get the feeling that yoga has become like a religion? With followers? Preachers? Right ways and wrong ways? I do. And I find that way of black and white thinking to be the antithesis of yoga.
Whether the story line is about how a class should be structured, how an asana should be performed, or which lineage or style of yoga is "best". I offer that as soon as we see something as this way or that, there IS no yoga. Yoga is the place and space between where everything holds a sacred place and can be called up to carry us to a place where we recognize the wholeness from which all things have come, to which all things return and in which all things exist. If we start "charging" things as positive and negative, the yoga, the integration, the bringing together of all that is, dissolves before us.
That being said, if you follow me, you know, I am on a path, to which I am committed. Yes, And. I am not about to say it is the only path, nor even the right path. I am simply on A path. That works. For me. At this time.
I bring this up because it seems that anytime anyone speaks of his/her path, that is the means to an end for you, too, to walk this straight and narrow path to reach nirvana, moksha, freedom, or some sort of "sinless" state.
I don't see it that way. And if my path leads me to believe that I need to convince others to believe as I do, worship as I do, or walk the same journey as I do, I do believe I have actually fallen OFF the path on which I am disillusioned to perceive I am walking.
So why am I on a SINGLE path? Why not study a variety of lineages, teachers, or ways?
There simply is not enough time. Life is short, and there is no way I am going to ever get deep enough to find the hidden gems that will bless me and teach me and show me and nourish me if I am hopping around from teacher to teacher, lineage to lineage, inspirational speaker to inspirational speaker. In my experience, that is like studying twenty different languages and not learning any of them well enough to do much more than ask for a glass of water or when the next train will arrive. There's not enough time spent to really learn about the heart and soul of the place, the people, and the energies that influence a way of being. It's digging pot holes and never ever unearthing a single hidden treasure. I don't know about you, but I'm more interested in hidden treasures I can carry with me always than shiny objects found in the dirt.
It's good for me to stick with something. My yogic path is my spiritual path (much like a marriage). When the going gets rough, I am uninspired or tired, or when I find myself apathetic, or disinterested in going the extra mile, vacating the premises is not a suitable answer. The answer is to recommit -- again and again -- to wake up with the sun and start again. The answer is to practice compassion for myself and to stop with the desire to change the world and to instead to turn back to my mat, my meditation, my mantra, and go deep. It might be lonely there. Scary sometimes too. But ultimately we each come alone and go alone and I might as well know how it feels to BE alone in this life -- so that I enter into every relationship "vertical" and grounded, not needy or with pockets filled with hidden agendas. Sticking with something shows me who I am when everything around me shifts, changes, and eventually leaves.
Tangent: I started that point by saying that my yoga is my spiritual path -- I also want to say that yours may not be -- yours may instead be about waking up with more energy, mastering an arm balance or staying fit. If that's you to whom and about I speak, I say YES! Walk your path with vigor, confidence, and laughter, and your entire world will feel it and benefit.
I say that to say that I shall not stand where I stand (in fact this is a time to kneel), and say my way is the best way. What I know is that the way I have chosen is a way for some that works for some. It's not for everyone. I love the path I walk because it teaches me these things:
1. Everything I do is service if I see it as such. Every toilet I clean, pot I boil, word I speak is an offering to a source greater than me.
2. The entire universe is made of God particles. (that word God feels so puny -- packing all that it is into one syllable is quite absurd, don't you think?)
3. Everything is blessing. Everything I have I have ordered (consciously and unconsciously) and everything that comes, is here, or leaves is a blessed opportunity to show me how I can grow from everything, because, if you think about it: it's the yucky stuff (compost) that makes the best flowers!
4. The difference between a spiritual life and a mundane life is where I place my attention. Enough said.
5. There are not many gods. There is not only ONE god. There is only God. (and again -- one word is a ridiculous substitute for the energies at play that we discover in science, medicine, nature, and the cosmic mysteries every single day).
Whew. Heavy talk here. I don't mean it to be.
I just mean to say that I am passionately dedicated.. And I love you whether you walk the same path or not. And I share it with you only because I know it as one way, that works, really well, for some, of which I am one.
And I only long for all of us to be happy.
Please keep me in the loop for more like this!
Bio: Britt is described as a thought leader, love preacher, truth seeker, and yoga teacher. She is the author of Pilgrim: Live Your Yoga Every Single Day and is a guiding light in the yoga & ayurveda worlds, dedicated to bringing their powerful & simple teachings to the forefront of life today. She works with students and teachers alike to discover the hidden depths of yoga and to bring these potent teachings into day to day life. Britt lives with her husband at Deva Daaru YogaFarm, an hour outside Portland, Oregon where she lives her yoga, shares her teachings through online programs, facilitates yoga teacher trainings, and hosts Live Your Yoga events & Daycations. Follow Britt on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram