Happy International Yoga Day!
I realise there’s a day for everything these days (Unicorn Day, Goof Off Day, International Dog Biscuit Day – no joke) but why not celebrate the one we have?
So what is yoga to me? Simple: it’s everything.
Wikipedia describes it as “a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophical traditions. There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The term “yoga” in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga, consisting largely of the postures called asanas.”
Great – thanks Wikipedia – that explains it in the most basic and boring form ever.
Yes yoga is postures, breathing meditation but it’s SO MUCH MORE – it’s a way of LIFE!
It is creativity, energy, tolerance, love, sadness, understanding, patience, ritual, and many, many other things including acceptance.
I’ve always been ‘weird’, ‘mad’, ‘kooky’, ‘bubbly’, ‘loud’, ‘bossy’, ‘competitive’ a ‘geek’, ‘trouble’ – none of which I think I am myself, I think I’m normal and pretty average.
I never got why I seemed to stand out so much, I was just being me, the way I was raised to be – why was this so weird?
In school the pressures of ‘acting like everyone else’ are obvious – school pressures are every teenage child’s nightmare until they find their tribe, and even within that group there’s the sensible one, the wacky one, the list goes on…
But in adulthood? And in the workplace? I was baffled to discover that I still wasn’t ‘normal’ or ‘behaving as I should be’.
Ritual and authority are good things – we need them as human beings to navigate our way psychologically through this world – to make sense of it. We need routine, we need rules, and we need to follow them.
But we don’t need to be put in a box or multiple boxes, and just because one person sets a rule it doesn’t mean that it’s right – they might be acting from their own best interests, for example, and not for the good of the company – and in that instance it’s hard to be true to yourself – toe the line and make a sacrifice of your morals to get a career? Or make a statement and know that you ain’t ever getting another promotion in that office. It’s hard – really hard.
I’ve often been told ‘you’re not professional enough’, ‘you’re need to think like a business woman’, ‘you need to play the game more’.
True – but in order to achieve those things, what sacrifice do I make to me? And my own goals? What changes am I making to put myself in that box? And do I actually want to be in that box at all? The answer is no.
Going self employed was one of the scariest decisions I ever made – I didn’t actually think I’d be able to do it, I thought I’d be crawling back to my job a few months later – but almost a year later and here I am – and I am here thanks to yoga.
Yoga has taught me that I am me – I do things the way that I do them because that is the only way that I know. I am mad and wild and kooky and wacky but I work with clients who choose to work with me BECAUSE of that, my students come to my classes (I think?!) BECAUSE of that.
This doesn’t mean I am void of all authority – it just means that I am able to work with like minded people, and work becomes more of a mutual share of information, interests and passion, rather than a world of towing the line, sexism and always being told you aren’t enough. Maybe I’ve been unlucky, but that’s the experience I’ve always had.
Anyway, my point is, you attract the people you want to attract by naturally being yourself – if you act in a way that goes against your grain, you attract people that you don’t actually want around you.
And yoga over anything teaches us self acceptance – and for me gives me a better understanding of the world we live in, how people act, and why they act the way they do.
I’m more accepting of others, and I’m more accepting of the reasons why they don’t understand me – but most importantly I realise that’s all on them and their hang ups – not mine.