This week, the lovely and strong Susan Dawson @_suetra_ answers the question: What does your favorite quote have to do with your practice?
I love reading quotes about yoga, or enlightenment, and I’ve noticed that many people like to share them on Facebook, Twitter and social media sites. I find some to be good, some quaint and light, while others are inspiring and encouraging. Mostly, I keep them in perspective. Here’s a sample from B. K. S. Iyengar: “Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and to endure what cannot be cured.” It’s a great quote, but what does it mean? I believe reading a quote will do nothing…but if I memorize, internalize, and let it guide my thoughts and actions for a while, it influences my practice and my personal life.
All of us experience stress in dealing with everything from daily life routines to relationships and there are numerous wins and losses, compliments and criticisms, fear-making or confidence-inspiring daily events. So we search for something to grab that will help us deal with fickle fate and loss of control. A quote is no magic formula, it takes more than that. While it's not the easy route, I believe the only way to approach my yoga practice is to give my best effort, and by doing so, experience its full restoration. Yoga, at its philosophical center, is dynamic and arises from the profound notion of a union with the divine. If my practice is too small, if I’m afraid of opening up and letting the benefits of a cleansing breeze flow through my soul, I will mind the very point of engaging this historically transformative practice.
I’m aware that change is not always easy and doesn't happen overnight. If it were, people would not be bound in chains of their own making and challenge their limits. The rule-makers are winning in my world, and I am sure that if I chose to ignore the rules, someone with a camera would be there to record my lawless deeds and I could suffer the bondage of real chains. But the heart of yoga empowers us to address our chains, for yoga’s deepest impulse is one of liberation from steely attachments.
The chains and rules in our world function very well, keeping us tethered with an ongoing bondage to that which we ought to change. But it takes big effort and some are not willing to engage if they believe there will not be a worthy payoff. It used to be that if one put great effort into education – there was a payoff later; if one put great effort into job performance – the boss would reward the hard worker with a raise; if one put great effort into winning by reputation – good things happened; if one put great effort into keeping sacred religious principles – divine favor was assumed. But our world has changed and the change will happen and you will be a better you.
I’ve discarded my faith in rule/reward systems; they seem to be broken, so I look to yoga and its benefits that accrue to me and those in my circle of influence. Putting in the effort will change you but it will not help you make more money, or leapfrog others to advance at work, or immediately thrust you into leadership positions; but I give my best knowing that the change will happen and we will be better and healthier. It has nothing to do with rewards and everything to do with true wealth … and that is health.
About Our Guest Blogger: Susan is a yoga enthusiast, nature goer, lover of the oceans and mountains, and a mama of 2 kids. She has documented her weight loss journey since 2012. She is passionate about blogging and posting on Instagram to share her experiences.