Today in yoga Austin asked us not to make it so hard. What we were doing felt hard (holding poses for so many breaths in 90 degree heat), but he asked us to stop telling ourselves it was hard and just let it be. Just be in it without making it any harder. Stop gripping your toes, clenching your jaw, holding your breath. Drop your shoulders. Smile. Breathe!
Like all yogic lessons, it's not really about yoga but about life (which is yoga for some of us). How many situations in life do we complicate significantly by making them harder than they actually are? How often do we hold our breath and grip fiercely when relaxing and letting go would serve us far better? Could we avoid frenzied emotional drama and instead stay neutral and calm?
This is what Austin teaches while we hang out for awhile and sweat in Warrior II- you don't have to be so dramatic about it. It's just yoga. He often jokes that if you waver or fall over in the pose, that just means you're really bad at yoga. I think we could consider life in the same way. It's just life! Yes, it's important and there are some very heavy realities to it, but long range vision tells us that in the end most things don't matter. We are all going to waver and sometimes we're going to fall over, but it doesn't mean you're bad at life. We're all just learning how to be- to get our voices heard and our needs met, to give and receive love, to find purpose and passion. Along the way we're bound to be a bit ungraceful. It's just a part of the process of becoming excellent at living, which, like the mastery of yoga, takes a lifetime (or three!).
Recently I've been attempting to apply this long range vision to all my interactions. I hold in mind what Yogi Bhajan said in regards to communication being not about wrecking today but about creating a better tomorrow. I am deeply moved by the Ram Dass quote, "We're all just walking each other home," and the sense of oneness and connection it elicits as I move about in the world. I watch strangers interact aggressively with one another with new amazement. In the past, in a moment of unadulterated frustration, I have absolutely unloaded on a stranger. However, these days I just want my communication to create friendships, connections, and the feeling of being loved and cared for in the other. I am beginning to understand how much strife and unhappiness is generated when one doesn't consider the future when they act and speak. One way or another our words and actions are creative, so I ask you, what do you want to create?
There is a common story in America that says life is a struggle from cradle to grave, that nothing is easy, that you have to fight for everything. Like a yoga pose held for a long time in high heat, sometimes life is naturally difficult, but why make it harder? Sometimes gripping and breath holding, drama and aggressiveness is about shielding ourselves from hurt. Sometimes it's about clamoring like a little kid to get our needs met, devolving into a big ol' mess of stomping feet, shouting and pouting. These old blue prints of behavior can be like small, tight knots that are so uncomfortable but feel impossible to undo.
This moment will end and transform into the next, maybe so seamlessly it goes unnoticed. We will become the future versions of ourselves, who are now nothing but pure possibility. It is for the sake of our future selves that we must learn how to live more easily, to loosen our jaw and our grip, and give ourselves a shot at happiness. Let's make our experience here easier by remembering that we're all in this together. "We're all just walking each other home." Then let's be kind and patient to ourselves and to each other. Life is hard enough without people being mean. And life does not need to be so hard.