WOW | Life Inspiration

It’s never too late

For what it’s worth…it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

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Scott Fitzgerald.
This month marks the international day of yoga. Thousands, if not millions, of people will be celebrating the occasion by slipping their bodies in various postures (or trying to!), altering their breath into pranayama and coaxing their minds towards that so-sought- after calm.

The effort and intention of this are commendable and inspiring.

And yet Yoga is so much more than postures, breathing and calm. Fitzgerald’s words speak to me of the path of Yoga: a life of exploration, joy, and growth. A process of re-evaluation, of consciously choosing to question and to change. A journey that takes great courage and perseverance. Asana and pranayama are the tip of Yoga’s massive iceberg… and compared to some of the mental and emotional contortions and cleansing that life will ask of us, the physical gymnastics are a piece of cake.

What we do on the mat or cushion in a yogic practice serve as preparation. They are a training ground, as much for the body and breath as for our awareness and quality of mind. How do I move? How do I speak to myself when I can or cannot do a posture? Am I really present or am I elsewhere? Does my pride swell when I achieve something or think I do it better than the other? Or does my voice of self derogation peep through when I can’t do something as I wish? Frustration, effort, calm, distraction, focus…all sorts of emotions and states of being pepper a practice. And so it goes. And so goes life. Full of changes and surprises.

I’ll be blunt.
When you tell me you practice yoga, I don’t care how flexible you are. Nor do I really care about what big names you’ve studied with, or how many courses you’ve done, or how many hours you meditate. Those mean less to me than the clarity of your intentions and sincerity of your heart.

Your perfect headstands are nice. Your 600 rounds of bhastrika are impressive. But more than anything I want to know how you breathe when life knocks the wind out of you, and how you catch yourself when life throws you upside down. Will you allow yourself to break and be cracked open? Or will you try to hold it together behind a facade of “all-is-well”?

And more than seeing whether you can put your foot behind your head I want to know how you navigate the dark places within you– the fears, the jealousy, and the slippery slopes of the overachieving and beyond-bounds ego. Tell me where your trust lies, and how you speak to yourself when no one is listening.

I say it all the time, and I will say it again. Life is messy. We are not here to get it right. On the path of Yog we understand that we are here to experience this amazing, crazy, mind boggling, heartbreaking, confusing, exhilarating thing called life. We’re here to test things out. To get things wrong. To try again. And to find the courage to change ourselves in pursuit of our birthright of joy and love.

So, yogis and yoginis, here is to you and all that you do–the good, the bad, and the ugly. Be kind. Laugh a little more. Take time out when you’re tired. Ask for a hug when you need one. Give a hug when requested (or not). Smile a little more often (it’s good for your wrinkles)….And above all, know that you are pure magic, made of the same stardust as the rest of the Universe. Shine on.

LISA GAUTSCHI (Yogatara) is a Yoga Therapist and Spiritual Psychologist, and the Director of Isha Institute, Jhamsikhel – a centre for holistic learning and conscious living.
Contact: yogatara108@yahoo.com