The Zen You Bring
"The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there." Robert M. Pirsig
I've done yoga in pristine, light filled welcoming yoga studios with eco-friendly bamboo floors and in studios that feel like dark caves. I've done yoga in a high school staff room, on concrete, sand, water and carpet. I've done yoga alone, one-on-one, with a dozen other people, and with hundreds of other people. I have done yoga in the rain, in the sun, too hot, too cold, too crowded, too noisy, too quiet, too loud, and too lonely. I've done yoga in perfectly organized rows and with mats and personal items placed haphazardly.
I've taught yoga in living rooms and board rooms, with furniture pushed aside. I've taught yoga in those same pristine and cave-like studios. I've taught yoga in elementary school classrooms and in a dusty work trailer cramped in one corner. I've taught yoga in my own perfectly-crafted-to-my-taste-studio and in places I've rented from others. I've taught yoga on grassy fields, concrete floors, carpet, springy hard wood, and rigid laminate.
What I know for sure: the external environment in which I or my students do yoga has nothing to do with the experience of yoga.
Yoga is an inside job. It is the self discipline, or tapas, of moving inward, a removal of attachment to external stimulation or situations, known as pratyahara, and a sincerity to try to focus the mind on the task at hand. The blissed out, calm yet energized, satisfied feeling a yoga class can create doesn't come from the room, nature, or place in which we practice. It comes from the focus on what we're doing or what the instructor is guiding us toward. A pose, a physical sensation, the breath, a mantra, movement or stillness.
Yoga is the stilling of the mind, which can be done anywhere. It's a result of what we bring to it each time we step on our mats. Or the floor. Or the sand. Or an SUP board. Or....
If I could reword Robert Pirsig's quote, it might go something like this:
The only yoga you find is the yoga you create inside.
If you enjoyed or were inspired by what you read, please use the Like and Share buttons below. With Gratitude, Cathy