I recall the moment when I made the connection between yoga and life. I was completing my training in Rishikesh, India. We were practicing Warrior Pose II (Virabhadrasana II), a position that develops strength and balance and which requires a very grounded stance. As the class held this very demanding pose, our teacher, Surinder Singh, asked us:
“A strong back leg is your good friend. What are your strengths? What is your back leg?”
Immediately, my back leg felt stronger, more grounded, as I brought to mind the things that sustained me: Nature, Friendship, Kindness, Exploration. Yoga can benefit anyone. But as a mature woman who recently discovered this path, I find the benefits all the more available to those with life experience. As my teacher would say, “Yoga is not exercise. It is a path for how to live your life.”
Conserving our energy
The idea behind yoga is to exert the least effort for the maximum effect. The best progress is made without too much force or tension, when we relax into whatever it is that we are doing, but with enough force to follow through to its conclusion.
Respecting our present limitations
It is extremely important in yoga, as in life, to discover and respect our present limitations. From that point, we can then explore them and see that they are not fixed boundaries.
A little challenge is a good thing
As we explore our limitations in yoga we find that they shift and widen. In the same way, in our lives, we find that, through practice and effort, something we once thought was beyond our capacity becomes gradually easier.
Adjustment is important
In life, as in yoga, we may be tempted to give something up because it doesn’t seem to be working. Sometimes a few minor adjustments in our pose—or in our life—can make all the difference. Not seeking perfect, just seeking contentment.
Much of yoga practice concerns how to use the breath. Breathing is so simple and natural, and brings us back to the present moment. Yoga teaches us to breathe no matter what is going on.