A Life Worth Breathing… is the title of a book by Max Strom, one of my favourite yoga teachers. I want to share a story he tells:
There was a woman who practiced yoga. She worked for years to master the art of stretching and bending her leg up so far that she could put her foot behind her head like a pretzel. This took years of diligent effort and hours of practice. Finally, one day she got it. Hurray! She ran home excitedly and told her husband the news. He looked at her blankly and returned to his newspaper. “Didn’t you hear me?” she cried.. “I finally did it!”.
“Yes”, he responded. “But you’re still mean to me everyday.” So, what was the point of that?
This story shocked me when I heard it. Not because of the husband’s response or the woman’s achievement, but because this was me, 10 years, for sure 20 years ago. I was so focused on the outcome that I neglected the whole purpose, thinking that the outcome would bring peace. Perhaps I wasn’t mean everyday, I considered myself a ‘nice’ person, but certainly judgemental of myself. The point is that the journey has to bring pleasure because life ticks on and can harden you, or soften you.
Also, this story clearly illustrates the difference between yoga that is done without the breath (physical effort only), and yoga that includes the other ‘limbs’, of which the physical is only one.
Have you heard there are eight limbs to yoga? They include the breath and the mind, and how we live in the world. The poses are just a wonderful preparation for the rest.
Everything we do is to feel better in some way. Unfortunately, like the woman in the story, most of the things we do provide temporary happiness. No doubt she moved on to work on the other leg, unless she took a diversion to discover there was so much more to her.
As I prepared my upcoming workshop “From your Best Self to your Whole Self”, I realized that we will be travelling up all the limbs as tools to discover there is so much more to us when we can move beyond our fears and show up as we truly are (gasp!).
I hope you will join me if you are able, and if not I will bring you the best tools I know in the upcoming weekly blogs. If you got this far, thanks again for being a reader….. you are so appreciated.
PS: Mindfulness and Yoga classes resume this week… yay!