Not later, not soon – now. The study of yoga requires that we pull ourselves out of the swamp of the past, that we set aside worrying about the future. It insists upon – and is also the pathway towards – clarity of mind and focus of attention on the present moment. Now.
Over the past year my life has shifted. And at times now I feel overcome with anger, impatience and frustration. I want to begin this exploration of the sutras because I want to loosen the grip of these very unproductive feelings and to find the middle way between the highs and lows of my emotions.
I want peace.
Before I moved from Florida to Colorado last fall I had been teaching and practicing yoga almost every day. I was recovering, and maybe I was hiding out too. My practice was a refuge from the pain of the previous years which included divorce, quitting my job, losing my house and most of my savings, and losing my father to cancer. But whatever the motivation, through this daily practice, and in particular through teaching, I found a calm center and a place of self-acceptance.
Today my life is so much happier, in fact almost miraculously transformed. And so it seems quite ironic that all of a sudden I am beset with anxieties and frustrations. I should be floating on a cloud of bliss! Yet somehow, as my life has become so much more stable and full, I have returned to a familiar way of being which is busy, controlling, anxious, edgy. Somehow being once again part of the world of professional, striving, upper-middle class people has made me feel demanding and unsatisfied in a certain way.
Why yoga now? Moving from a time of isolation and solitude in my life, to a new place of fullness, love and participation in the world has been more challenging than I would have expected. So I am coming back to my study of the sutras, coming back to the mat as we say, to find that calm center. And so: Now, Yoga.
My primary reference book for this journey is “Inside the Yoga Sutras” by Jaganath Carrera, a student of Sri Swami Satchidanandaji Maharaj.
Artwork from Shaman Tube by Kolmanskop Photography