Yoga Mind

Here's how we are taught to think: if you try hard, you will get better; if you work hard, you will go further; if you strive for more, then you will achieve it.

Yoga doesn't work like that.  It's one of the hardest adjustments to make, as you turn yourself towards yoga practice and dedicate yourself to it.

In all of those entreaties to work hard in order to improve ourselves is the assumption that there is a gap between what we are now and who we might become one day, with luck, hard work and a prevailing wind.

As if you could be any more perfect then than you are now; as if you have anything to prove about the value of your existence or the validity of your presence on earth.  You don't.  Everything is as it should be.

Yoga draws itself from a place of fullness: you already have everything you need; you already are as you are supposed to be; your task is only to find your talents, your compassion, your love and sense of unity and to share them.  The work is simply to trust that this is so.

An entire industry has sprung up which is dedicated to reminding us what we lack (never more active than in the run-up to Christmas).  If we have this or that, change ourselves in this or that way, drive this car, carry that handbag, then - only then - will be perfect/worthy/at peace.  But those messages telling us that we are missing something are only intended to help people who have made things sell things - which is fine; I just wish they didn't have to sell us things by telling us that without those things we are not complete.  I hope that we all know that we are already complete and that if we do not feel so, then we must journey inside with the help of a good teacher or friend; I hope that we all know that buying something to fix the outside, when it is the inside that is broken does not work. 

Your asana practice is the perfect place to practice living from a place of fullness, not a place of lack: on your mat you learn to love the things your body can do rather than to fixate on the things it can't.  That you are here at all, a living, breathing, sentient human being is a miracle all of its own.  And some of the most important lessons that you will learn on your mat have nothing to do with pigeon pose or longer hamstrings.

Over time, with patience and dedication, your body shows you that it can be stronger, more flexible and more resilient; and more importantly, you begin to feel more, to notice more and to respect yourself more.  This requires commitment and regular practice for sure, but it also requires that you set aside your goal-orientated, sportsmanlike, 'if I push myself harder I can do this' mindset.  In yoga, you are not engaged in the process of making yourself into something different - you are simply uncovering your essential self and encouraging it to bloom.



  1. So you could say that yoga is a balance between effort and acceptance? V.


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