Lots of people talk about the benefits of yoga to your body, your mind or your spirit. Did you know that yoga can help you help others as well? Here are the top 3 things I’ve learned about service to others while practicing yoga.
1. We all struggle. Whether you’re looking at the warm & friendly yoga teacher or the person next to you, everyone in your yoga class is human. It doesn’t matter if you’re struggling with a more or less complex pose than the person next to you. The struggle is the same in some ways every time. There is sometimes, fear, doubt, frustration, hope, joy – the full spectrum of experiences can come up when trying something for the first time. So it doesn’t matter if the person next to you achieves some crazy inverted pretzel pose and you are working on downward dog – the point is not the pose, its how you approach the struggle. Its much easier to be of service to people when you realize we are all dealing with the concepts of hope, fear, anger, love etc – just all in our unique ways.
2. You are not more or less than anyone else. Our egos are complex things, and much-maligned in yoga, yet it serves a purpose. It exists to help you survive – real or imagined threats. We often put down, minimize, or blame in order to make ourselves “more” than others – which to our primitive selves (and we all have them) makes perfect sense. The truth that yoga helps us see is that we are all one. We are all the same. We all seek and deserve love. This may sound like a fairy tale, but the physical and contemplative practices of yoga start to show you that this is reality.
3. You are not alone. Often we struggle because we think no one understands. When you start to practice yoga, and see many people have similar problems or questions, it starts to dawn on you that your struggles are not special or different (they may have different contexts or circumstances) but we all look to achieve and understand human things. Love, security, family, etc. When you drop the idea that you are “special” or different from others, it can be a huge relief! There is no need to prove yourself worthy – you are worthy. There is no need to prove yourself deserving of love – we all deserve love.
Take a few moments to consider these ideas. Try this meditation:
- As you breath in, repeat, “There is only love.”
- As you breathe out, repeat, “Love is all there is.”
Try this for 5 minutes every day and see what happens.