I did a detox this summer that wasn’t meticulously planned. Rather, my cleanse slowly seeped in after a tentative encounter with a BOSU ball. The detox was from yoga.
Rather than a standard fare of teaching yoga and meditation, I delighted in not speaking and simply being told what to do by instructors. I journeyed into kickboxing, circuits, boot camp, barrecore, jazz aerobics, cardiotone and Pilates. During a solo outing, I was in awe of another gym goer walking in handstand on a treadmill–during first attempt.
I hadn’t known my great love affair with yoga was due for a separation, an extended time away to reflect on the value of the practice, what works, what doesn’t.
It extended into a 10-week detox and I loved it. My body functions synced in magnificent reset. I’m stronger and more coordinated. My digestion improved. Importantly, I am more present, in the here and now. In the body.
Yoga is programming, an installation of a lifestyle that practitioners eat, live and dress by. Unfortunately, the community can also become devoted at the exclusion of other experiences.
Yet nature thrives in diversity. My detox taught me that I love diversity, too.
WHAT I LEARNED IN 10 WEEKS of ABSTINENCE
Certainty is not truth. Through certainly, we close to new experiences and possibilities. No matter how much we love a method or path, when we become certain, it’s best to question.
We evolve toward meaningful relationship. This means being more engaged with our world. Like-mindedness and exclusivity wear thin. Yoga and other methodologies can be myopic, gathering cliques or, at worst, cults. It’s good to outgrow yogic isolation: An entire world waits beyond the green drink set.
The Universe in on our side. Cheering us on, always supporting our evolution, even during jazz aerobics.
Be open to learning, always. Yoga is skill in action, according to the Bhagavad Gita, a central yogic text. If I adhere to the teachings with rigid finality, I become slave to the method.
Yoga, ultimately, encourages us to let go of the method and evolve into freedom. I would rather be free than be identified as a yogi.
Humility and curiosity work well together. Upon an awkward encounter with cardiotone, I quickly settled into humility. Soon, curiosity followed as I noticed a petite woman in the front row 20 years my senior. She moved with confidence and ease. Buoyed by curiosity, I followed her steps. Sort of.
Disassociation is a plague within the yoga tradition. Mindfulness is a constant return to the senses, to embodiment within the present moment. If you are a trauma survivor (where disassociation seems second nature), mindfulness is the preferred practice, a constant return to being here and now, to being authentic. Stay tuned for my next blog post on this topic.
Yoga teachings support a yoga detox. Yoga teaches that clarity, ease and joy are found within the alignment to our true nature. Yoga is a powerful way to study until our thoughts, words and actions become aligned and we break free of the methodology itself.
I will continue to draw from yoga for inspiration. The richness of life is found within the balance of observing thoughts and witnessing suffering, while engaging with the world and enjoying a myriad of experiences.
Yoga at its essence is self-sacrificial. It asks that we ultimately break free of the method. And Live. Fully.
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