The Poses Don’t Matter
The poses don’t matter nearly as much as you think.
If there is one thing that I could pass on to anyone practicing yoga, it is this: The poses don’t matter, but you’re reaction to them means everything.
Some people are naturally strong, some are naturally flexible, and some can stick their elbow in their ear. Some can float into Crow, and some can sink into the full splits without batting an eye. Does this make them a more advanced yogi than the person on the mat next to them? No. It does not.
We are on our mats for an hour at a time. There are 23 other hours that are filled with actual life: traffic jams, fights with your partner, budgeting your money, beers with friends. I can’t recall the last time I was at happy hour, and went into handstand, and immediately everyone in the bar respected me. The poses don’t matter like that.
Have you ever been in an excruciatingly long line at the bank? Did you drop into Happy Baby to calm yourself down? The last time your boss ripped into you, did you go into Samasthiti and center yourself? Did you do your taxes while sitting in Prone Frog? No? Me neither. At the bank, at work, during tax season, were you calm and willing to be open? Or did you say “this is stupid” and find a multitude of reason to not be happy? The mental reactions we experience on the mat are what frames and guides our life off it. The poses don’t matter, but the personal changes they bring definitely do.
So, if the poses don’t matter, then why do them?
I will never deny the health benefits of a consistent asana practice. Never. However, being physically healthy doesn’t make you a better person. I know plenty of people who are totally ripped, and have horrible morals. Conversely, I know people that are overweight that fall into the same category. I know yogis that can do some mind-blowing things on the mat, but struggle to create true relationships off it. Your body is finite, and undoubtedly has an expiration date. We all will expire eventually. However, if you believe in the spirit, the flow of your consciousness from one being to the next, then is it really your strength or flexibility that you carry over to the next realm? Or is it your intangibles like kindness, love, compassion, humor, and charity? The poses don’t matter, being a good human being does.
The poses are a direct reflection of you, your mentality, your ability to accept the difficult and frustrating, your willingness to try, your ability to not care how you look, and most of all, your acceptance of everyone around you no matter what you do, or do not, have in common. Thus, pay more attention to your mind during your practice. It’s cues will be far more telling of the areas of your life that could use a little attention, much more than whether your heels are aligned .
Be light my friends,