Why yoga? Do what you can.

“Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.”

This is yoga. Simplicity. Connection. Truthfulness to where we are.

When life shakes us awake regardless of inner resistance, that surely must mean we are ready? And yet, we often choose to return to old ways of doing things, to superseded patterns, to un-nurturing ways of being.

As teachers and yoga students, one of our greatest gifts lies in returning to our own regular yoga practice. The simple, basic version rather than fandangled new experiences. It is always awaiting our return regardless of what has taken our focus away from creating greater awareness.

This practice is simple, both for teachers and students. You cannot brush past your wounded places on the mat. Yoga creates awareness, awakening to what is; it’s a deeply eye-opening experience as we deepen the connection with ourselves and those around us.

Today, the image of repainting a piece of furniture that we love sprang to my mind. When you decide it is time for a change and come to yoga, you start sanding down the old paint. Instead of exasperating or forcing, we keep inhaling despite the yucky mess we may be creating. There is something deeply satisfying in this external and internal practice of shedding the old layers.

The process can be quite knackering and some do not stay the course. We must pace ourselves and remain open to continuing this practice of sanding down the edges. Sometimes we get distracted and down tools but they are there for us to pick up – at anytime once started. Take stock and rest briefly but frequently to create a more enjoyable process – relishing in uncovering the veins of the wood below.

Marvel at your growth marks. Without attaching meaning, simply witness the curves, the darker and lighter markings from seasons passing by. Neither good nor bad, your nature just is. Feel the sensations, be in the moment by engaging fully with your practice.

When you have fully stripped yourself with nothing left, take time to marvel at the bare bones of yourself. Truly drink it the totality of who you are and how you are put together. Underneath it all, your true nature is revealed.

And like in redecorating your furniture, choose a colour, consistency, depth of paint that is appropriate to your nature. You can recreate yourself from this empty place. Remember what gives you joy? Allow your creation to express this. Match where you are without glossing or coating heavily. Remember: you are enough. Now. Let the truth of who you are shine through.

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