I used to always think, I want to be someone who goes to yoga 5 days a week, and now I have become that person. When we want our lives to go in a certain direction, when we want to be something or someone, the most important thing is to just do it. Just take up that practice we want in our lives, just eat healthy foods this meal, just go to bed and wake up early. These are the things I want in my life: health, structure, my practice, the things I have observed which make me truly happy, which make me feel self-confident and joyful.
So why is it so hard to make decisions that fall in line with this?
Often when I have been “good” for a week, I am craving to do something “bad”, whether it be to skip class, eat some crap, stay up watching mindless reality TV – anything that draws me away from my focus and intention. Perhaps it is because I feel a little caught in the middle. I don’t want to completely give up on my friends and old habits and I’m certainly not ready to be the ultimate devoted yogi.
Many of the ancient texts, including the Yoga Sutra and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, say that having friends who are disinterested in a spiritual practice are among the hindrances or obstacles to the path of yoga. I have observed in my own life how true this can be and am surprised that even thousands of years ago, this was apparent to the great sages of yoga. I have also seen how keeping “good and virtuous company” can take you deeper along the path then you imagined. For me, as with all things, it is about balance. And I need to see some oneness in my relationships with others, rather than splitting everything apart, categorizing and creating this duality between “good” and “bad”. Everyone in my life has something positive to offer me or a lesson to teach me, so long as I am able to see it that way.
Keeping good and virtuous yoga company doesn’t have to be boring! And it doesn’t mean all discipline all the time. Some of my most powerful yoga insight have been when talking to friends in the most casual way about yogic teachings. Enjoy a nourishing meal and commit yourself to not talking negatively about others…. talk about good company!
(Photo from Yoga Vida Teacher Training graduation)