We all have our days. The mind might be racing, or we’re stuck in traffic, or arguing with a loved one, or a to-do list a mile long. Whatever it is, we’re often filled with the challenges of modern day life. And then we take a yoga class, and hopefully, we’ve emptied our cup, come into the breath and body, and taken a step towards the present moment.
Notable power yoga teacher Bryan Kest says “when you bring your shit to yoga, you make your yoga shit”. I get what Bryan is trying to say here, but why not bring your shit to yoga?
Selvarajan Yesudian writes
“Yoga never demands the sacrifice of our reason. It only bids us: use it a thousand times more. Yoga does not require us to give up our active lives. It says simply: act, but know how to act. Yoga does not by any means wish us to push our understanding aside. It only tells us: discriminate correctly and act fearlessly. Yoga does not expect us to flee from the world and to retire into the Himalayas. It assures us: the refuge you seek, you will never find in the outside world. It is within you. Leave the stormy world of the senses behind you, raise your consciousness to the central point of your being and realize that here alone is the force, here alone is the peace and here alone the refuge you are seeking. Yoga teaches us: do not condemn the world. Deify the world with your deeds, purify the world with your utterances and ennoble the world by your presence.”
Bring your needs to yoga. No don’t get me wrong, you’ve got to be a good student. Work on breath, let go, and do your best. But bring yoga what it is you need to work on. Somedays are good, so practice being thankful and find gratitude. Some days are tough, so ask for the help you need. Use it a thousand times more.
We often see new students start the path of yoga, they begin to feel better, are more open, alive and present. They love it. They feel better physically and mentally, but the old habits fight for their existence. Then a day off from yoga becomes two days, then three days, and then they’re out of practice. They feel ok for a while, but then old habits win. My teacher Rolf Gates always says – Begin at the beginning.
So next time you’ve got shit, begin at the beginning. Take 3 long breaths and come into the now. You don’t have to give up your active life or being a 21st century human. You don’t have to go to the Himalayas. Use the tool that bids us, use it, use it a thousand times more.