There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way!
One of Abyasa’s beautiful students came up to me the other week joyfully cheering how she was able to step her foot forward in between her hands from Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) without touching the ground. -‘It just happened!’. A great step, that opens the door for the next step to be taken.
It reminded me of my first padmasana (lotus position). I never really tried actually. Until I was in line to ask my teacher a question and the girl in front of me was asking for a proper explanation on how to get herself into padmasana correctly. As I sat next to them waiting, I thought ‘might as well give it a try’. And just like that my legs crossed and.. there I was! Actually, it reminded me of a lot of ‘first times’ (let’s just stick with yoga here ). Like the first time I found the way to use my pelvic floor in a backbend, the first time I suddenly threw myself up in Viparita Shalabhasana (full locust pose) and see my toes (only a week ago), or the first time I truly felt that I Am Not the sensations of my body.
And the great thing about those ‘first times’ is that, usually, they are not set out by us to happen at that particular moment, it actually feels like they just came falling from the sky! But really, what ‘happened’ to my student was this beautiful mixture of two core foundations in the practice of yoga: Abyasa and Vairagya, Practice and Detachment.
Its is Abyasa – practice that leads you in the right direction, that helps you to discover your path and eventually leads to a state of stability and tranquility. It is the courage and the effort to go for our aims and purposes that makes us to discover and choose our own path. It was all those days of practice, of deep hip flexion and discovering her own strength and abilities that made this student step her foot in between her hands.
But it was not the focus or aim of her practice that day, nor all those days before. She was just doing here thing. And boom, there, it happened! The greatest things happen to us exactly when we let go of the results or the fruits of our action. It is when Vairagya occurs, when we detach ourselves from the ‘final goal’, that we can start enjoying the process and all those steps that will lead us there. Each step, just as important as the end goal – for without it, we would never get there in the first place.
It happens now and then that we (subconsciously) find ourselves staring at that final goal, having lots of expectations and going straight for step 10, when really we are only at step 4. And it is exactly that which causes us to frown so deeply when we can’t find our balance in Vrikshasana (tree pose), shake our head at ourselves because we should really be able to get our legs off in Kakasana (crow pose) by now or feel that there is some set amount of time before we should be able to touch our head to our knee in Janu Sirsasana (head-to-knee pose).
But really, it is not the perfect external position that forms the final result. It is all those lessons learnt along the way that, when combined, make up for that final position. The lessons this student needed to be able to step her foot in between her hands, were hidden in each time she tried. To reach ones goal, 5 steps may be needed for one person, 500 steps may be needed for another. As we never really know how many steps it will take us or even, whether we will reach our initial goal at all, we might as well enjoy every step and every breath along the way.
There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
So, my dear friends, our classes this week will be filled with movements, postured and breaths that encourage us to take ourselves a little less serious. To let go of the results. To try. To enjoy. To play. And to smile at ourselves whatever happens.
Keep Practicing. Abyasa Yoga.