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the heroic journey through yoga..

September 6, 2013

(Excerpts from a delightfully honest essay about yoga.  As I’ve said before, the practice can not always be like a trip to the spa. Be dragged through it or dive in. Enjoy.)

 

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…  yoga will also show us exactly how badly we feel.  Usually, when honest emotion starts to come up, students leave.  They skipclass or decide yoga wasn’t what they wanted.  They say ‘it’s not working any longer’.  The emotion itself keeps them away; they’re ‘not in the mood’ or ‘too depressed to move’ or will  – trust me, this is real – feel guilty for feeling so crummy when others are just trying to get their savasana on.

This doesn’t indicate that the yoga isn’t working, but that it IS.  The end isn’t this negativity, this disappointment.  But negativity is part of the path, and it has to be gone through if you want to understand it, to understand yourself, at all.  If you don’t, you’ll be shutting down half of your experience of life, and probably the best strengths you’ll ever find.  If you don’t, you’ll continue to skip, overcompensate, repeat, and lull.  You’ll segway irritation into nicety, stuff it, and it will erupt later as rage toward an intimate or yourself.

Here is the thing.  Yoga is not about bliss, but about honesty.  Spirituality is not certainty, but the longing of the heart.  Enlightenment is not ‘letting go’ of bad feelings, but understanding them, what they’re doing to us, and how they are expressed in the body.  Non-harming and forgiveness are not about feeling generous or big enough (bigger than and condescending), but knowing the difficulty of right actions and assuming responsibility for the difficult.  Forgiveness often comes directly out of acknowledging how bloody bitter we are.  Love is not joy, all the time. Sometimes, love hurts. Love is raw.

 

heroThe shadows will show up.  Go there.  Apathy, acedia, what Christian mystics called desolation, existentials call despair, moves when we move toward it.  It isn’t the passage of time that heals us, but the passing through experiences.

There are hundreds of things telling us to ‘get over it’, to ‘think positively’, or to ‘let it go’.  Be wary of these as the roadside distractions that they are.

Yoga is the love story where in things fall apart.  God moves away, often at the same time he takes away the ground.  First goes this, then goes that.  Gone are the thrill of the first months of yoga class, the ease of learning something new every time you walked in the door.  Gone is the schedule that allowed you class three times a week.  Gone is the strength in your shoulders, the ability to keep on a diet.  Gone is the confidence of conversion.

And then a small movement in the heart.  And then two.

 

Beautifully captured and written by KARIN L BURKE, RETURN YOGA.

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