This next blog was inspired by my hatha yoga practice. It was originally intended for my yoga students at Bikram Yoga Stockton as many of them make their way to the end of a 60 Day Yoga Challenge. However, I do believe these words can be applied to a broader audience. Yoga and meditation are not limited to a yoga mat.
"You have the rest of your life to improve these postures." There is no ending point until you die. So this means, for all the time you have left on Earth, you get to practice your yoga postures. And even at the end, there is no proficiency test to make sure you mastered them. So now is not the time to rush your physical progression.
Now is the time, however, to get right with yourself. Now is the time to see yourself honestly. In your yoga class this honesty starts with questions like "Can I be still? Can I breathe deeper? Am I trying my best?" That is not where it ends, though. Those are just some of the questions that you have to ask to get to the real questions. They are the questions that begin to teach you how to be in the present moment. Aside from life or death situations, it is very common for us to avoid inhabiting the moment we are in. Your hatha yoga practice (physical practice of yoga) is only an aspect of your journey. It is not the end. It is but a means to an end. The end being self-realization and union with the god inside of you.
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Through your practice you can develop the skills to recognize the most minute intricacies about yourself. The journey that started with questions like "Can I be still? Can I breathe deeper? Am I trying my best?" may evolve to questions like "Are my hobbies serving my highest good? Am I living authentically and living up to my life's purpose? Are my actions motivated by fear or love?" The second set of questions are a bit heavier, I know, and chances are the answers won't come flying back to you just yet. But maybe someday you will be able to answer these questions honestly. I say "maybe someday" because let's be real... much of society is not even capable of ASKING these questions from a pure place let alone getting honest answers. But we all start somewhere, right? So when is the time for you to start? I'd say now. All you can do is do your best within your current circumstances, current knowledge base and current skill set.
Allow your own evolution. Practice your yoga on the mat so that you may embody it off the mat. Remember, you are an infinite being within a body. Let that body help you connect with your soul, your god.