Yoga is about connection, a deep-rooted connection to the divine. It is through the practice of yoga that we complete a cleansing process that purifies the mind to reveal the reason we are here, our purpose for life.
Yoga is a way of living. It is about putting in an effort which is imbued with love, dedication, commitment and humility. It is about transferring that joy and equanimity experienced during a yoga session and living it.
Being peaceful on the yoga mat is easy but what about the rest of the day?
Each morning I do Atma Kriya Yoga followed by Japa during my asana practice but thanks to my guru, Paramahamsa Vishwananda, this yoga practice extends beyond that morning practice. Japa, chanting the Divine Names, is something we can do with every single breath making it possible to live and breath yoga and thus maintain that equanimity through daily challenges. It is possible to constantly feel this loving connection to the divine and eternal gratitude for life.
Something I am working on is learning to let go of expectations. The world runs on expectations. It seems so normal to have a day filled with expectations and to respond with negative emotions if these expectations don’t get fulfilled. We live with the assumption that we have a right to feel annoyed, upset, anxious, or whatever other negative emotion arrives when things don't turn out the way we expect.
When you do something for someone there is always an expectation in return. A thank you, gratification, praise, something to complement the ego and so on. If you do an act of kindness and then get irritated when you don’t receive the praise or simply the recognition you expect then you are not truly living yoga. I remember driving the car and allowing another car the right of way, even though it was my right of way. I waited for the car to pass and expected a wave of thank you in return and when I didn’t get this recognition for my kind act I felt anger arise towards the other driver.
It is such a ridiculous concept being attached to a specific outcome and every time we experience anger it is due to an unfulfilled expectation. Later on that day I realized my stupidity of this expectation and have since been working on it. It helps that I have young children who present me with multiple opportunities throughout each and every day to work on and let go of these sneaky expectations that creep into any given opportunity.
‘When you do yoga, it will help you to rise above expectations. Yoga will unite you with the Divine. Whatever you do is yoga when you’re not attached to the fruits of the action. But whatever you do with expectation will never free you. You will damn yourself; you will get yourself attached to the world. ’ — Paramahamsa Vishwananda
The true meaning of giving is about doing something for someone else, putting someone before yourself, but if you are expecting something in return then this expectation means you are actually putting your needs first. Not only that, but if you do not get the response you desire and expect then you get angry.
Once you offer something to someone it is not yours anymore, give it and then let go, this is what yoga teaches us: freedom and liberation from the limitations that bind us through desires and expectations so that we are able to consciously feel that unconditionally loving connection with the divine.