I see it all the time, people practicing yoga--sometimes for five, ten, or more years--as if the goal was to get good at yoga.
As if perfecting a yoga posture was some sort of holy grail, as if somehow, when they are able to do the perfect triangle pose, the perfect headstand, or perfect elbow balance, then their lives will be magically improved. The fact is that there was a time when I couldn't even touch my toes. Now, I can touch my toes, stand on my head, and whip out a whole library of fairly impressive yoga postures.
The number of problems this has solved in my life? Precisely zero (although trimming my toenails has gotten a bit easier). Now don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that performing yoga postures has no value--on the contrary. There are unarguably benefits to be had from forward folds and back bends and balancing postures and others.
What I am suggesting though, is that performing these and other postures, is an opportunity to do much more than merely improve your yoga practice. This is why around Yoga Pura we like to say yoga isn't about yoga, it's about your life.
More specifically it's about understanding and transcending the unexamined limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging mental tendencies that have been poisoning our lives for years.
The truth is that somewhere on the upside of 80% of life's misery is self created.
It's misery that is generated not by circumstances, but by our dysfunctional relationship to circumstances, through habits we've learned like judgment, comparison, complaining, and resistance.
The truth is that great frustration, anguish, and anger don't necessarily follow right along with all of life's challenges. If they did, we would all be affected similarly, but look around and you'll see: that's just not the case.
We all know people who seem to be masters of surfing easily over the waves that are life's difficulties. From health challenges to career problems, and from financial struggles to relationship drama these folks seem to cruise through it all relatively unfazed. But believe it or not, these people are not the chosen few, they simply have a way relating to the world that works. It's a skill that can be developed--and yes, through your yoga practice.
It's on the mat that yoga first begins to reveal to us the real causes and conditions through which we invite unnecessary suffering into our lives. It is this kind of insight that empowers us to step into a new kind of harmony and fulfillment and ease.
And just how do we do that? Well, that will be the subject of our future Lost Secrets.
Eric Walrabenstein is a nationally-recognized speaker, teacher, and best-selling author of Waging Inner Peace. As one of the most sought-after authorities on the application of yogic technology for self healing and empowerment in the nation, Eric is the founder of one of Arizona’s largest yoga centers, and Arizona's first 500-hour Master-Level Yoga Teacher Training Program. At the core of all his work is the effort to make yoga's ancient wisdom and techniques practical and relevant for people from all walks of life. In addition to his work in his wellness center in Phoenix, Arizona, he is the creator of BOOTSTRAP, a yoga-based program to help troops and veterans heal from post traumatic stress, is an ordained Yogacharya (preceptor of yoga), and is currently finishing a book on the Science of Happiness.