Yoga Is Not My Life

 “Let your practice be a celebration of life” — Seido Lee deBarro

I’m just back from a weekend away with my beautiful family, our three adult children, their partners, and our three grandbabies (one was napping when we took the picture). It was a gift from the kids in honour of what we call 20/60/60: Our 20th wedding anniversary and 60th birthdays, which all took place recently, within 10 weeks of each other. Over the weekend I came to a stunning (for me) realisation…

Yoga is no longer my life.

“But wait!” you might say, “Aren’t you supposed to immerse yourself in yoga and make it the centre of your life?”

For many years, yoga was my life. It was my business, my social life, and my recreation. There were many, many good things that went along with that; I got to learn from the brilliant teachers I brought to the studio, I acquired a network of extraordinary people from all over the world, I saw couples connect, babies born. I saw life outside of yoga happening all around me.

On the flip side, when yoga was my life, I had times of feeling enslaved by what others thought of me, envious of what I saw on social media, and obsessed with what others in the industry were achieving. I often felt scared, competitive and small. I missed out on moments with my beautiful family and was less available for these humans I love the most. 

I’ve been on this path a very long time now, but this weekend it really sunk in.

There is a difference between yoga being my life, and life being my yoga.

In my early days of earnest practice, by some accounts, I was a yoga zealot (my sister-in-law lovingly reflected this back to me). I had had a profound encounter with yoga’s healing power that not many people get to experience, and I was not shy about sharing my story with anyone who would listen. I remember the feeling of wanting to ‘do yoga’ ALL the time. Every time I stepped on the mat, I learned something new about myself. It was magic.

There is magic that happens on your yoga mat, because body-affects-mind-affects-Soul. The postures help open us up, they give us a feeling of freedom, connection to life, and a sense that all is as it’s meant to be. After a great practice you walk away with a feeling that is both spacious and settled. And as time passes, I’ve realised that whether I get time on my mat or not, bringing this spacious/settled feeling into my days IS yoga. The spaciousness means there’s room for everyone to have their unique way of being, without diminishing my unique way. It keeps me connected to Spirit and attuned to what life is showing me. The settledness means I’m firmly planted, and able to be present for what’s happening in my life, in smooth times AND in turbulent times.

Just to be clear, this doesn’t mean that I live in a constant state of oneness with the Universe, but the lines between what yoga is and isn’t have become fuzzy. Love comes more easily, fear and envy visit less often.

Yoga doesn’t happen when you roll out your mat, it happens day after day when you roll it back up and walk out the door

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