I’ve gone through quite a lot in my life. Family problems, financial struggles, losing people I love, and trying to find closure from things I never got a sorry for by myself - a lot of times that rile my nervous system up whenever I get reminded of these events. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my own fair share of mistakes and moments I can’t say I’m proud of. While all this feels like a really long time ago, I sometimes see how these have created an effect in who I am today.
I used to think joy is something I had to continually keep chasing. That it was something I needed to find. A constant thought was how lucky some people had it compared to me and I always wondered how much points I needed to rack up with God to get on his good side. Thinking this way left me consistently exhausted and mentally drained that It was easy to find temporary fixes. I spent a lot of time trying to look for joy in places outside of myself.
Stepping onto the mat changed that.
A couple of months in, I was able to find a sense of solace on my mat. Without ever being told how to, the practice brought me back to me. Being with myself and coming face to face with who I was and the life I had wasn’t easy. But I learned that what I go through and for the most part, the thoughts I didn’t define me. Who you are on your mat is who you are off of it. The opportunity to spend time with yourself is valuable because you see exactly how you work and put that into perspective. I felt really happiness within myself - something I hadn’t for a really long time.
We usually talk about Yoga as something that brings you harmony. I’d like to challenge that by saying that this practice is an unveiling -that you are whole, complete, and beautiful. It leads you to the steps that help strip away what keeps you from realizing that. The secret was that I never needed to look for joy outside of me, it was never gone in the first place. I never even had to look for it, I just had to see it was in me all along.
- Teacher Rianna
The Joy of Small Things
Today is April Fool's Day, a day that is celebrated with pranks and trickery and the ensuing laughter that comes after the discovery of the deception. It's probably one of the few days of the year when we allow ourselves to be completely duped for the sake of a few goodnatured laughs. And the appeal of the activity is almost universal.
Historians trace the roots of the April Fool's Day to various places: in ancient India in celebration of the coming of spring and in ancient Rome, where citizens exchanged fake gifts to commemorate the transition from the Julian Calendar (which starts on April 1) to the Gregorian Calendar.
Regardless of its roots, April Fool's Day revelers have one objective: to find joy in the small things. Whether that's sharing an obviously satirical article to close friends or staging a full production of a prank, we are all motivated by our search for the joy of laughing together, even on the smallest of things.
So today's lesson is: joy doesn't have to come in big packages. And joy is not found in faraway places. Joy can be right here at home in the smallest of things. Try to find that joy in everything near and dear and then you will learn that true joy is just within.
- Teacher Ben
Teacher Ben and Teacher Rianna are experienced yoga teachers, who dedicate their lives to guiding fellow practitioners reach their full potential.