Yoga is for everyone!
Sometimes I am bored with my Yoga practice. Even our most treasured pursuits sometimes feel like a drag. Many people are reluctant to even try Yoga because they think they will be bored, or they have tried it once and they were bored. One of the most frequent compliments I hear from new and old students - it was so interesting, the practice today! I never knew Yoga can be so fascinating.
It is like being bored is one of the worst things to be. Allow me to try and shift your paradigm on this - boredom is GOOD! Boredom is a gateway to the most creative mind state a human being can experience. If you survive the stage of boredom, a whole new world waits for you on the other side of that hump. Trust me, I've been there.
Twenty years. Every day (or most days, let's be honest, sometimes I relish a day off) I find time and space, sometimes a few minutes, sometimes a tiny area by my hotel bed to get quiet and listen. I know that if I can just get myself to slow down, any initial resistance to my practice will vanish. I have never regretted "forcing myself" to practice, and I almost always regretted not having done so.
And it is in that state of not knowing what I am going to do, because I am just so sick and tired of doing the same old thing, that I have stumbled upon the most innovative, creative, intuitive Yoga. My entire approach, Liberated Yoga, was born on the other side of boredom.
Our Western culture is very intolerant of boredom. We want to be always entertained, and sometimes we don't care about the quality of entertainment, as long as we don't have to think or do anything - just sit back and receive. We want things to be loud because it is much easier to attach our attention to the largest hook. When we slow down, when the breath slows down, when the movement slows down, there is often an initial state of panic - what am I supposed to do now? Obviously, fear and anxiety is an unpleasant thing, and we are programmed from birth to avoid unpleasantness and to seek pleasure. It is only natural, only human.
But it is also human to have the ability to rise above these lower frequencies of feelings and thoughts. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Pada 1, Sutra 14: "Practice becomes firmly grounded when well attended to it for a long time, without break and in all earnestness." See, all we need is to practice, do it often and continue for a few years. Practice setting aside time and space to be quiet, to be bored, and to wait. For a Western practitioner who wants instant gratification, just the proposition itself sounds boring. But let me tell you, as soon as you divorce yourself from the expectation to be entertained and to have some kind of immediate result, as soon as you marry yourself to the process itself, to the journey, rather than the destination, then it becomes a non-issue. And as you relax your expectations, wonderful new things unfold themselves in the present moment. That's where the best stuff is anyway, here and now.
The more you do it, the more you will realize that nothing bad happens when you are bored alone with yourself. Quite the opposite, you will begin to experience states of curiosity and fascination with subtle, nuanced manifestations of breath, body, mind, and emotions. Promise. And if you follow your curiosity it leads to one place, and one place only - pure, profound joy. At first you might be surprised to have stumbled upon it. I know I was! It was such a shock, to be so thrilled, delighted, blissed out, for the lack of a better word, in the middle of nothing, in the middle of nowhere!
In the beginning I was afraid that it was just an accident, that I would never find that feeling again, but guess what? If you practice with attention for a long time, you will realize that that place of bliss is always there, you just step out of it for a time, but then you can just as easily step back into it. And once you realize that, then you can weather the lowest of the lows that Life can throw at you, and you will enjoy so much more the highest of the highs, because you will be able to have enjoyment without the fear of its loss.
So, come to Yoga! Let's be quiet and fascinated together, we will be in good company.