I watched Jane Fonda's documentary this weekend and it really spoke to my heart and made me look back at how much this practice of Yoga has given back to my life. In the closing of the film she said "I've spent so much of my life thinking if I'm not perfect no one can love me and then I realized that trying to be perfect is a toxic journey . We are not perfect. We have to learn to love our shadow, we have to embrace and accept our shadows. And some times good enough is good enough." I know for a fact this is a shared feeling amongst many of us, and I know for a fact that the practice of Yoga when done with discipline, devotion and dedication for a long period of time can heal this misperception of the ego, a misperception led by ignorance. Yoga shines light to the ares where ego holds itself in ignorane causing suffering, and allows for the suffering to ease itself through knowledge of the truth. As Iyengar describes "Sadhana means practice. By the practice of yogic discipline, one is led towards spiritual illumination. A sadhaka is one who practices, applying his or her mind and intelligence with skill, dedication and devotion." If you feel this way or have felt this way in the past don't feel alone on this journey, own it and see if you can feel grateful for the awareness of it, so you can continue to grow through your shadows and into the light. When all else falls apart yoga provides you with a space of comfort and steadiness. Sthira Sukham Asanam!
At times it's hard to show up to the mat, at times your body hurts, at times your mind is sluggish, some times you are too in love, sometimes you are too exited, some times your schedule is too busy, sometimes you are sick...but none the less you learn to show up and you practice through it. This showing up to practice comes back in the form of spiritual strength and support at times when life feels like all is crumbling around you. It is during these times that practice guides you, supports you, nourishes you and gives you a place to feel like all is ok, it gives you a sense of continuity and routine even during those times where there is no continuity and routine.
In my experience When the physical body gets injured and broken, there is something in the emotional, psychic body that is trying to transform, release, but the ego is not ready. There is physical or emotional resistance to the practice, that manifests in a lack of ability to relax within the postures. The physical injures, delaying the process of growth. I've observed this in my own practice endless times these past few years. It's taken some time to complete the third series, there was a lot of resistance and hesitation to coming into my own strength, to releasing that which wants to stay small and weak within, that which as Jane says "thinks if I'm not perfect no one can love me", and to finally embrace being ok with being fragile and vulnerable. I share this, as a personal journey I have gone through, and growth out of into the light in the hopes those of you in the process of the journey, know that it's ok, all will come back to a steady, stable, effortless place.
The beauty of this practice is that by showing up daily you continue to coax the body, the nervous system and the ego into releasing, into trusting. As Patanjali says an asana is mastered when the body is completely relaxed and the mind can concentrate on the infinite. In this infinite space your ego dissolves into your true nature 'swarupe'. Observe yourself through your practice. See yourself through your actions and rest assured that "sadhana is fully laid out to uphold the sadhaka (practitioner) in his uninterrupted maintained devotion of his or her sadhana, to guide him/her around pitfalls so that he/she may gain clarity by acute observation and reflection and immaculate precision in practice"