The many ways

11 Apr

There are many ways to walk the yoga path. I’m learning that many of them require little or no mat practice. Asana is only one limb of the eight, and asana within itself, manifests itself in many different ways. Then there are the other seven limbs: the restraints, observances, breath expansion, withdrawal of the senses, concentration, meditation, and superconsciousness. We tend to have an idea of what those practices should look like, and when they take a different form, I think that they are often misunderstood. Rather than separating ourselves into “yoga peeps” and those who just “don’t get it”, I think it’s a fun game to look closely and find the hidden yoga practices of those yoga gentiles around us!

People often ask me if my husband does yoga and I always feel dishonest when I say no. He doesn’t do mat practice, but he’s one of the most yogic people I know. His sadhana consists of waking at 4am to ride the bart to the city (there’s asana and meditation and for sure…. withdrawal of the senses). His commute alone is three hours a day. He works as a reporter, and I’ve noticed that although many press rooms are volatile places, he always finds a way to get along with everyone around him. He’s great at dropping the dramatic story and just being with things the way they are. When Dan gets home from work, I’m usually off to teach. He’s one of the only husbands I know who pitch in everywhere with house and kids with complete equality. The kids respect him as an equal parent and I don’t have to ask him to pitch in around the house. When he’s home, he’s working to help. It’s almost like having another me around, except Dan’s often more efficient! That dedication is Seva: or selfless service. Dan knows about satya, and what it really means. He tells the truth and it manifests when he shows up on time and speaks his truth with a lot of love.

I’ve known many yoga students and teachers who have amazing mat practices and beautiful bodies, but they never put in any real yoga time. To me, real yoga time is paying attention to those moments we’re off of the mat and watching our thoughts, our interactions with others. If the mat practice and learning doesn’t translate, then it’s just not working, and the yoga asana practice becomes just another manifestation of ego.

So, I’m not sure if my husband can even touch his toes. When he does come to yoga class, I try to practice detachment and give him plenty of space to do his own thing. His yoga manifests itself in many little ways around me, and it’s part of my practice to pay attention and notice his yoga practice, in all of it’s many subtle forms. He’s done the same for me; never complaining about my being gone again to yoga. He seems to realize that yoga Laurie is a much better person to live with than pre-yoga Laurie.

It definitely is a practice, this yoga path we’re walking. It’s important to remember that we’re not alone and to look for the non-dual that exists in our personal worlds. Check out your friends and loved ones around you. Chances are, you’re walking around with yogis you’ve never noticed before. After all, there are many ways to walk this yoga path and if we pay attention we’ll see manifestations of yoga all around us.

3 Responses to “The many ways”

  1. Lisa Gray April 12, 2008 at 9:18 am #

    What a great tribute to Dan. I hope he reads it and knows it.

    I too, have a great yogic husband. Thank goodness for it, too!

    Thanks for a great, thought provoking post.

  2. Julie April 15, 2008 at 12:11 am #

    What a great thought. I never looked at things that way before. Thanks for the new perspective!

  3. silvershdws April 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm #

    And I was just writing you an e-mail about spreading joy in the world. What a beautiful post Laurie. It’s so nice to hear about what a healthy relationship you and Dan have, because so much in the world we see unhealthy ones.

    And on the subject of egoistic yoga practice, you’ve echoed my thoughts. 🙂

    On the noticing the yoga of others who don’t practice asana, that’s a really good idea for an intention. Or something to try to become aware of.

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