I have a yoga teacher friend who often wears a t-shirt with the words, “I DON’T KNOW” printed across his chest. As an “expert” in his field, he travels the globe offering teacher trainings and workshops. I always smile to myself when I see photos of him in that shirt. While dedicated yoga practice offers insight, clarity, and wisdom, we must recognize that there are some, in fact many, things we simply cannot know.
This past month I have had much time to ponder all that I don’t know. I don’t know how long the quarantine will last. I don’t know when we should re-open businesses. I don’t know what changes to expect in our society when this is over. I don’t know how long my small business can withstand the economic shut-down. I don’t know if I trust our government. I don’t know how the economy will recover and how long it will take. The list is long, and like everything else, it changes daily.
What I do know is that now is the time to commit to more yoga practice. Why? I can think of three reasons:
1. Self-observation is a form of self-care.
Practice out of love for yourself. We all know that yoga is good for the physical body. It can also be a tremendous aide in maintaining mental health in precarious times such as these. When the mind’s chatter becomes frightening or uncomfortable, yoga helps to move our awareness to the present moment by allowing us to have bodily experiences through the senses. Here we can observe the ever-changing nature of the body/mind and recognize that there is also an unchanging aspect of the self, the observer. Some say that self-observation or svadyaya is a way for awareness to reflect upon itself. If you know you are pure awareness/love/light you can never be tainted by the world around you.
2. Practicing yoga helps us to see our true essence nature.
From your vantage point as the witness, you have the potential to experience thoughts, feelings and sensations without triggering repetitive and patterned ideation processes created by prior life experiences. Instead, feel them arise, manifest, and dissolve. Allow experiences to flow through you without solidifying or creating knots of tension. Feel the flow of life and let yourself be carried by it. In time, perhaps you can move about in the current of life with joy and trust rather than trying to forcefully navigate your way based on fear or attachments. Have confidence that everything you do is correct in that moment. When you’re in the flow, there is no wrong way to go! As you learn to let go, you discover the truth of who or what you are. You discover your already existent innate divinity.
3. Practicing yoga benefits everyone.
In time you may also recognize that same divinity dwells in all beings. When you live your life with a sense of curiosity and wonder your outlook will be contagious, and everyone with whom you come in contact will benefit.
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
“May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”
I don’t know a lot of things, but I am certain of one thing. There are times when surrender and acceptance are the only viable option. You may be wondering...how do I let go into the flow with confidence? Practice.