thoughts: why yoga? why india?
My home is a disaster. In a moment of panic this weekend I began tearing it apart. Making piles of recycle, garbage, file, shred, Goodwill, keep. And, naturally, minutes after pulling everything from my closet out onto the floor I decided it was a better idea to go to a yoga class.
Today I stared at the piles again, which I now regularly walk through to get to my bathroom and bedroom. I thought about dealing with them, and again I went to a yoga class instead.
You could say I'm avoiding packing, but really in these moments I need to be on my yoga mat. And I can't say exactly why.
This has plagued me from the very beginning. Almost 10 years ago when I started practicing yoga, something happened. My practice allowed me to move through my life with greater ease. But I didn't understand why bending my knee a certain way and extending my arms and breathing on my mat left me feeling less irritable in traffic and more compassionate to people who don't know how to drive properly. It's what pushed me to enroll in my first teacher training. I so badly wanted to understand why yoga works.
I could say in this time of transition that it's comforting and safe. But I also have practices that are frustrating and bring up fears. My yoga mats have seen countless laughs, tears, handstands, face-plants, and extra long savasanas. Those mats have supported me through poses I never imagined practicing and injuries that felt permanent. They've traveled with me on vacations and celebrated New Year's Eve, birthdays, and weddings. Years ago after a painful breakup my friend gave me the option of going out to a bar or a yoga class, and, of course, we ended up on our mats. The bar might have happened later.
As a teacher, I also have the honor of witnessing my students' dedication to yoga. Students come to class on their best and worst days. They show up when they get new jobs, when their kids make them crazy, and even when a loved one dies. They come to their mats when they want to and when they have to drag themselves. And they always feel better afterwards.
Recently one of my teachers asked me to view my yoga practice as a habit. Is it an addiction? Is it a useful addiction? How do we rely on it without attaching?
I don't know.
I don't know why we all keep coming back to yoga. And this is what draws me to India. For years I've felt pulled to travel there in the same way that I feel pulled to my mat. Because I want to know WHY.
And maybe there won't be an answer. I may come back with more questions than answers. But I want to move closer to the answer, and going to the source of yoga seems like the best way to do that. Going to India seems like the closest I can get.
In two weeks someone is moving in to my home, and in a month I'm leaving. Practically speaking, everything is a mess. My passport and Indian Visa are currently at an office in San Francisco awaiting a signed letter from an institute in India, and the rest of my important documents and belongings are scattered all over the floor of my apartment. Meanwhile, I'll probably keep spending the couple hours that I should be packing each day on my yoga mat instead. And I don't know why it will make everything easier, but it will.