Centenarians fascinate us with their ability to live past 100 years old. Have they been blessed with good genes, or had no stressful experiences in their lives? It turns out how we feel about ourselves and our ability to adapt to an accumulation of challenging life experiences may be as or more important than health factors. Enter: our yoga practice. Yoga practice begins to change our brain, and how we cope with stressful situations. Most of the time, life is not extremely stressful. It happens to be the little changes in our lives that seem to disrupt our peace. An unruly teenager, endless tasks to complete, unpaid bills, new bosses at work, etc. the little changes never stop coming. How we adapt is crucial to how we live.
I was not so good at adapting. I am one of those people who like to know all the facts before doing something. I plan, plan, and re-plan, to make sure everything goes smoothly. Unfortunately, the universe laughs at such people, throws them some curve balls, to spice up their life a bit. Take our yoga practice. We love it. We come faithfully every week to Sara’s class. We just love her! Until, Sara moves away, or her class changes, or she decides to go in a different direction. Disappointed, we stop our yoga practice. But here is where a big step in yoga really happens. If we know how yoga works, we can meet lifes changes, including the little stresses in our lives, with grace, poise, and not be disrupted by the waves of our lives. It’s ok to like things, but we shouldn’t loose our peace when we don’t get what we like. As we get older, we want change less and less, and is it any wonder that we get diseases, and loose our flexibility as we age.
You should do an experiment on living your life. When something doesn’t go according to plan, see how well you can adapt. Notice your pulse rate, your feelings, or what you say or do after not getting what you want. Most of us want to think we are flexible, and that change does not bother us. Try it with our yoga practice. Try going to different classes, different times, with different teachers. If you don’t like something, stick with that teacher, until you like it. That is how yoga works. We begin to change the stressful events into things we do like! We step up to challenges, rather than submit.
I promise, if you just remember that, you will be well along your way to knowing how yoga works.
See you on your mat, or upside down, or sweating it out in the hot room,