Yoga is not a sport
Yoga is not a sport, a hobby, a status symbol or a religion. You do not need muscles, a mat, Lululemon or a guru to get your yoga on. It is there for everyone, everywhere, all the time or it is not yoga. All you need to bring with you to hit the road with yoga is yourself, an open mind and a willing heart. You do not conquer yoga, it is only won in surrender. You cannot demand its presence, it arrives in gratitude. You do not have to buy or sell yoga, the price of its attention is respect. You do not need to learn it, because you already know it.
All yoga asks to get you on your way is the memory that you are always the ether that dreamt you, the wind that moves, the flame that purifies, the earth that holds, the water that hollows you, one drop at a time. You must remember that yoga is everything. It is your brightest joy and your darkest secret, it is the people who love and those that hurt, it is in every thought, emotion, action you have ever lived. You will have moments when yoga remembers you better than you know yourself.
Can you remember that your yoga breath is not just for the mat. It is your first breath, your last breath and every breath in between. Wake it up, use it, you need it. Breathe deep like a new-born and tear your heart and lungs open. Make space for you. Yoga can carry you when the road gets rough but it can’t breathe for you.
Your journey with yoga is uncharted and you will find, time after time, that what you think is your end is really your beginning. It will build you up and break you, then build you up and break you again, and each time you will find a little more of yourself amongst the broken bits of what you thought you were. You may cry, you will laugh, you may be lost and found, hurt and healed, dropped and caught. Yoga knows that sometimes you have to kiss the dirt to find your bounce to hit the clouds.
And the fare for this one-way trip to yourself? Forget what you may have thought, read or been told. Yoga doesn’t ask for devotion, sacrifice, obedience, perfection, athleticism, vegetarianism or even your money. These can get in the way of what yoga really wants. Yoga just wants you as you are. It will meet you on the road wherever you choose and, if you are too beaten and breathless to move, yoga will hold you until you find your feet. All yoga asks is your surrender to itself, that you become whole and breathing in its presence. Yoga understands that for each person the path to surrender is different but, in the end, it will bring everyone home.
But, buckle in for a wild funny ride. I cannot promise you the answer to your prayers, the end of your suffering, the meaning of life or even a bikini body in time for summer. All I can guarantee is that if you find yoga, if you can surrender, then you will change…because yoga’s scheduled terminus is union with the universe and the universe is change. You just need to be quiet enough to hear it, soft enough to hold space for it and willing to go where it leads.
Yoga is the past’s gift to the present and the hope of the future. It connects to everything that was, is or will be. And in return for your trust, yoga’s blessing for you, is this beautiful, bumpy journey…this coming back to your breath, your body, your whole self…where everything you were, are or can be, again becomes your yoga. In the end you will remember that the road that brought you here will also take you home.