Every so often, I get asked the question: “why do you ‘do’ yoga”? It’s usually in a yoga class, but sometimes it’s over a particularly lovely drink in one of the beautiful places that I visit in the Ribble Valley which is where I live.
It’s a good question to ask. Over the years, I have simply responded with a “why not?”. This feels like a fairly legitimate response. A bit like Edmund Hilary responding “because it’s there” when asked why he climbed Everest.
When I was younger, my ego used to trounce in and suggest that it kept me fit and bendy. As I got older, and spent more time in the various yoga practices, I found that ‘yoga’ did something more profound: it returned me to my self.
And this is where it gets complicated, because by my ‘self’ – I don’t mean “a very english yogi”. What yoga does, is that it takes me back to the deepest part of who I am: perhaps who we all are.
In Dzogchen they talk about the primordial, pure self. It seems to be a deeper part of all of us: not bothered with ego, trivia, grasping, gain or other such stuff. Rather a return to the source of who we all are – suffused with a sense of emptiness or pureness, oneness and interconnectedness. (Sorry folks – lots of nesses….)
That’s the late at night, smokefilled bar room reason dealt with. Now for the cool clear light of day reasons. We live in a world of lists and a very English yogi has learnt from the best list maker in the world – Mrs Yogi. So here’s my list of reasons why I ‘do’ yoga – or perhaps more realistically, why yoga ‘does’ me.
1) Keeps me trim (ish…ok I can hear my nearest and dearest laughing out loud now)
2) Keeps me sane (ditto)
3) Stills my mind (thanks Patanjali !)
4) Opens me up to the possibilities that being offers
5) Knocks my ego, addictions, afflictions and grasping for six
6) Keeps me flexible in body and mind (Cue: more distant laughter)
7) Makes me laugh
8) Helps me with balance (in body and mind)
9) Helps me see the world in a more unbiased and neutral way
10) Keeps me disciplined and focused
Oh, I forgot…the power and effect of yoga practices are for me nothing but a dazzling blind light. Shining light into the dark nooks and crannies of our daily lives.
That’s my starter for 10 : what about you? Why do you ‘do’ yoga?