In India, there are yogis who have the tiny, skinny bodies every anorexic teenager dreams of. Not because they want to look like gaunt runway models, but because they can’t afford to eat more than a handful of rice and a little boiled cauliflorwer once a day. On a visit to India, I asked one such scrawny yogi, “How are you?” He replied, “I am so hapy to see you here on this beautiful day!! How amazing is this existence, my friend, that we are here, where we are!” His eyes glistened, his face beamed. I asked him, “Are you in need of anything?” His kind eyes filled with even more warmth (if that’s possible), and he replied through a wide, toothless grin, “Maybe a little food.” It hit me then and there: If this person is this radiant and happy in these conditions, what’s my problem?
Some of the yogis in India are barefoot, dressed in rags, and exists in “homes” that consist of dirty ground and a gutter. And yet, when you look into their eyes, they’re radiating more joy and love than any Wall Street executive or Beverly Hills millionairess has ever known….
Happiness isn’t complicated. In fact, it’s the opposite of complex: It’s the simplest thing in the world.
Steve Ross, Happy Yoga
Wish I was going everyday, Bikram is truly blissful….maybe post-Europe
1. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference in your practice and in life. It’s not always the full straightening of your leg that will make your quads quiver, but instead just a simple pointing of toes and engagement of the knee that make every muscle south of your belly button burn with accomplishment. You don’t have to shower your spouse with fancy gifts to show them that you love them, sometimes it’s just telling them you love them as you enjoy the quiet early hours of dawn before kids and conference calls clutter your day.
2. Be playful. As adults we are programmed to believe that fun is golf, drinking expensive alcoholic beverages, attending pretentious parties or cooking out with the Jones’s. Somewhere, we forget that life is about revelry in discovery and the folly of innocence. We neglect that inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is our true self. Stop it. Stand on your head, fall on your butt and laugh hysterically about it.
3. Working as a waitress and rescuing animals in the early part of my adult life taught me about compassion and service, but there is more to it these two miracles of the human spirit. Our compassion for others and ourselves is what drives us to our service to the divine. Teachers, healers, artists, their compassion drives them to make the world a better place. Our service is the creative action of that compassion.
4. Breathe, relax, go deeper. As yogis we are always pushing our practice to our edge, going deeper into that one posture to stretch a rarely used muscle. We often forget that creativity is a muscle as well, and thus needs to be stretched and felt on a deeper level. The strongest artistic seeds are the ones that are planted the deepest.
5. Where is my mind? I’m afraid I’ve lost it somewhere between downward facing dog and that last chaturanga. To me, the mind is only as strong as the body it inhabits, and vice versa. The mind and body are symbiotic, and when one wanders so does the other. When I think too much about a particular posture, I fall out. If my body is sedentary for too long, my mind withers and becomes stagnant.
Not connected. But I say that we don’t push our bodies beyond what they can do. But if there’s openness, TAKE IT!