I really don’t have to talk to any of you about embracing change because I believe that we have all been doing a pretty good job at it in the last year. But what I can probably talk to you about is embracing bigger changes.
The last few months have trained us on accepting and embracing change in our daily lives. But there are some changes that are harder to accept and embrace, especially those that impact the grander scheme of our lives: education, jobs, relationships, and long term health.
Without going into specifics, I believe that changes are not random. Change happens for a reason, even if it is not our personal reason at the time. We are naturally and inevitably moved towards our dharma or purpose with or without our knowledge. Energy spent on resisting change is energy wasted.
Conscious change through personal work (“tapas”) is one of the three important components of our yoga practice that can bring us closer to fuller self-realization. This is accompanied by self-study, which means learning from our experience and putting it into action, creating wisdom. But aside from wisdom and work, the last important component of our yoga practice is faith and surrender.
For change that we cannot accept or embrace just yet, we just have to surrender.
- Teacher Ben
I started my yoga practice when I was in college at around 19 years old. As a physically active person, I was always so used to being pretty good at whatever new activity I got into. Yoga was something I found difficult because of the mindset it took to “perform” it but also because it didn’t come naturally to me.
I worked hard to do asana well. And like most of you who are probably reading this, it didn’t take long for me to feel that Yoga was more than asana. There was a shift in the way I practiced over the years and while I found a new level of depth in my mindfulness and intuition, my practice grew in physical technique and skill as well.
I’ve been practicing Yoga for around 16 years. Hitting my 30’s was different when it came to my physical practice. I found myself going through a phase of insecurity as I felt my body and what it could do were starting to change. And while I found a brand new level of equilibrium in my life, that old familiar feeling of having to “perform” was starting to rear it’s ugly head.
I had to go back to my intentions and my why’s for being in this practice.
I realised that just like Yoga itself, our relationship with it evolves as we do. This practice has been around for so long because of exactly that. It adapts to each person’s life and serves as a guide to live our lives mindfully and that is exactly what it’s become with me at this point in my life.
The minute we realise that this practice will always meet us where we are, we begin to see that the asanas are just a medium for us to get to know ourselves better. As our bodies get older, it becomes another way to figure out the way we work through the way we relate to our bodies and our asana practice. I started to see how I dealt with my ego, what I placed my self-worth on, and my intentions for why I do what I do.
My practice has come to a point where asana is not the scoring system that I base how good I am at Yoga. At the end of the day, it boils down to finding a sense of compassion and self-love. My Yoga practice has grown to shift along with who I am as I age. I find so much beauty in it and it’s been such a passion of mine to cultivate that change in the classes I teach.
For any of you going through the same thing, don’t worry. Enjoy the process of your body changing and embrace it! There is value in age and value in figuring out how to navigate your life through your practice. All you have to do is let it in and see what happens.
- Teacher Rianna