What's love got to do with ...Yoga?
It may surprise you to know, if you don’t already, that there are many paths to yoga, and when I say yoga, I mean the state of yoga. Sometimes described, and I personally find this to be the most satisfying depiction, as being in a state of complete absorption.
You’ll know you’ve been in a state of yoga (union) when you, for a moment or two or hopefully for even longer than that, lose your sense of self. This can often sound terrible in principle, but when we totally forget ourselves for a moment, we drop the identification with all our neurosis, anxieties, fluctuating moods, pain and anything else that makes us ordinary human beings. The most practical examples are being so completely absorbed in a piece of music, or art, or an idea, or nature, or some extreme activity, or yes (you knew it was coming) love.
As yogis, we try and make this experience, this state of union, come about independent of music, or art, or an idea, or nature, or some extreme activity, and yes, definitely independent of needing to have to fall in love (That would be problematic). That’s basically why we jump around our yoga mats, meditate, breathe and try get in touch with that part of ourselves which is capable of spontaneous and total absorption with, well, consciousness.
As I said, there are many paths and jumping around a yoga mat, breathing and meditating is just one, and happens to be a popular one because of all those seductive side benefits of having a fit and healthy body and being able to show off at parties doing headstands, but there are other ways and one way, made most popular by people like Ghandi, is the way of the karma yogi. The idea that you dedicate your life to serving others, and here’s the real catch, without attachment to the outcome. So basically, there’s meant to be some deep liberation and total absorption buzzy feeling in the mere act of kindness itself. That means whether someone says thank you or not, whether someone even wanted your help or not, and even if someone turns around and stabs you in the back for your efforts.
Because I’m into making this and other yoga ideas really practical and useful, I take this idea and offer the following; because while Ghandi was a bit extreme for me to use him as a role model for my life here in Western Europe, I do think there is something in doing things simply because they feel good to do. And I mean really good. The kind of good that is deeply satisfying on the level of the soul (as opposed to how blueberry pancakes are good).
Do things for others because it simply feels nice – with no expectation. That’s right, It’s a practice. And here’s a little extra tip; don’t do it if you expect something. Simple.
Wait until your heart is genuinely in the right place.
Here’s also a whacky idea, do something that is completely meaningless and purposeless and creative and fun just because the mere act itself feels good.
PLAY! Draw, create, write, dance, laugh, throw stuff – without thinking if anyone else will like it, see it, care about it, or if you can make money off it.
We definitely don’t do this enough.
Do these two things and you too can be a karma yogi and, even if you don’t reach the state of Yoga, you’ll definitely be on your way to a happier existence- for sure. There really is something to this yoga stuff isn’t there?