I spent three months in New York City this summer practicing yoga and meditation at different shalas. It was all very very inspiring – and confusing and frustrating at times:
– Where is the dressing room? Oh it does not exits, I have to change at the hallway!
– Great, there is a sauna at the shala, but people go there BEFORE the practice!?
– Why are they doing this one asana in such a weird way? I should tell them how it´s suppose to be done…
– What? They are playing Nirvana and I´m jumping around and sweating like a pig. This must be a 90´s grunge party, not a yoga class.
– There are students doing the Scorpio asana (very advanced yoga pose) at the beginners class. I must be retarded since I can´t do it even after ten years of practice!
– What´s up with this teacher? He´s making us do only these two same asanas for the whole class. His short term memory must be gone.
– I can´t concentrate, there are too many hot guys here without their shirts on! I´m not used to this in Finland.
The feeling of being lost is overwhelming if you are not able to keep connected within you, to know where you come from (and I don´t mean your home country, but that other origin deep inside you). You are not your mind, that wants to hold on to the past with every possible way: with how you are used to doing your yoga practice, with how other people have told you to do your practice and so on. It´s impossible to take on any new inspirations with that old state of mind. You need to let go and see beyond those mind made boundaries! It´s not easy. Everything familiar is comfortable and safe and something we humans so much want to hold on to. Following traditions like a blind man following his dog, is holding on. Change and difference is scary and requires a jump – leap of faith – to unknown… Yet from the unknown eventually arises the known which is way more true than the illusion you were deifying before. So learn to question! Change of scenery is a great way to reveal your attachments. Take a different route to your work place tomorrow and see how it feels, read a book you never would have considered, let some one else buy your groceries for a week and get inspired! If you stay present, the past does not distract you. You are being NOW HERE – NOWHERE, in a place free from past and future.
With this in mind, every time you go to your yoga mat, have an attitude of a beginner. Listen to your body and see how it´s guiding you that particular moment. Clear your mind and the rest will follow… Yoga is a beautiful way of finding your expression to unite with the whole, whether with the body or with your life. There is no right or wrong way getting there, just finding what ever fits you the best. And tomorrow it might be all different again. So let´s embrace change, let´s find our own way and let´s make every day living one amazing yoga practice!