The Parallels Of Practice Between Yoga And Life

Bringing your yoga practice off the mat into everyday life

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photo by Farsai C.

How to be in a yoga pose?

How to be in life?

Doing. Being. Trusting. Faith. Balance. Center. This is my practice.

Looking at life and how I participate with it, I see, with clarity, a parallel between the practice of yoga and the practice that continues to evolve within my life itself.

In yoga is someone else wrong for doing a pose differently? Maybe their body is different. Perhaps their experience is different. It is not about them, but instead, it is about what works for me. In life, we compare ourselves to others. It seems we think we need to be more like someone else as we hold our self to a standard we believe we know. Yet, in yoga, I clearly see I do not compare. I do not look at someone who can stand on their head for an hour and insist that I need to jump in immediately and stand on my head for an hour. I do not look outside in a yoga class and strive to be like others. In yoga, I come back inside and do what I can, be what I am, trust in myself, have faith and find my balance. In yoga class the students respect the teacher, we listen, we observe, and then we approach the pose and enter it as our Self for our Self. We do not enter the pose to show or become someone else.

In everyday life, there is a reality that unfolds that is layered with constant judgment. I do not like this, but I do like this. This situation in front of me is wrong, but this situation is right! Yet, in yoga, I do not judge others or their way of doing poses. I strictly exist in my capabilities. It is internal, not external.

In Yoga I am,

  • Doing – taking action
  • Being – breathing, relaxing, letting go, and adjusting
  • Trust – trusting in myself, trusting to let go, trusting to find support, trusting in my beingness to be in the pose
  • Faith – knowing the breath will keep coming from within and without, and that the earth is below me to hold me
  • Balance – staying in the middle, never swaying too far right or too far left.

In Life I am,

  • Doing – taking action
  • Being – breathing, relaxing, letting go, and adjusting
  • Trust – trusting in myself, trusting to let go, trusting to accept, and trusting to find support
  • Faith – knowing that although my psyche may freak out I am still breathing and I am still OK. Knowing the breath will keep coming from within and without and that I am with me to hold me.
  • Balance – staying in the middle, never swaying too far right or too far left.

I remember I was dangling from a rope in an attempt to do a backbend. I had wrapped the rope around my waist and walked up the wall with my feet. When it came time to bend over backward, it felt like a place in my back would not let go. I was stuck in space while I dangled in a parallel position. My entire body was shaking, and my teacher came over to assist. I said, in almost tears, “it won’t let go, there is a place in my back that won’t let go.” She said, oh so gently, “you mean, YOU won’t let go.” Those words resonated all the way to my heart. I tried to work with my mind at that moment to reassure it. When that did not work I decided to coerce it and ended with aggressively trying to make it acquiesce, but she was right, at that moment I would not let go.

In yoga, when my mind becomes still there is a sense of falling into the pose with ease. There is no personal judgment, no pressure, nor the attempt of trying to control my experience. However, when I hang on and try to pressure into the pose, as when I hang on and try to pressure life, that pressure applied cuts off the flow and the release from within the pose itself. That is my experience in life itself.

I notice in life how my psyche wants to compare myself to a better version of myself and cling to what I perceive as right, attempting to get back to that place of “right.” As I see the parallels between life and yoga, I cannot help but notice how every yoga class is different. It comes, and it goes. Some classes are miraculous. Some classes are frustrating. At times, I watch myself as a yearning comes up, and I want to walk out of class. Not really walk out, but my psyche says screw it. I see it for what it is, the desire to escape the struggle. But I stay, and I finish, working with myself instead of against myself and in the end—I find balance. In yoga, it is the movement of balance. My practice is to live my life in this balance, with the ebb and the flow. There are days of flexibility and days of stiffness, but within my yoga practice, I accept the ever constant ebb and flow. I continue to practice the parallels in life; allowing the ebb and the flow, the flexibility and the stiffness of each moment that unfolds before me. I practice with life and ask myself, all that is here is the pose – what are you going to do with it?

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