Striving NOT to Improve: The Unchanging Essence of Yoga in a World of Flux

mindfulness taoism yin yoga zen&yoga Jan 31, 2024

 Today, as I walked my dog under the drizzly embrace of rain, I find myself reflecting on the spirit of my practice and the constant changes swirling around us, much like this unpredictable weather.

Recently, a notable decision in the tech world caught my attention – Europe's move towards a universal USB-C plug for all mobile electronic devices. This decision highlights the ongoing tension between innovation and environmentalism, progress and sustainability. And as I pondered this, I couldn't help but draw parallels to our yoga practice.

In the modern narrative of yoga, there’s an implicit push towards constant change, transformation, and improvement.

But is this relentless pursuit truly the essence of yoga, or have we unknowingly stepped onto a hamster wheel, mirroring the relentless pace of our external lives?

The True Refuge of Yoga

For me, yoga is not just another realm of competition, goals, and pressure. It is my sanctuary from the 'always more, always better' mantra of modern life. It is where I can pause, breathe, and find solace in stillness. Yoga, in its truest form, is about embracing the unchanging – a steadfast presence amid life's ceaseless currents.

Embracing the Unchanging

My physical practice has been a journey of acceptance, especially with the realization that due to my unique anatomy, certain poses will always remain out of reach. This acceptance opened the door to a profound reframing of my practice. It's no longer about achieving the perfect pose but feeling the flow of energy – Qi – coursing through my body, bringing a sense of incredible vitality and presence.

The Misconception of Stagnation

Some might hear this and think, "Isn't that just maintaining the status quo?" But let me offer a different perspective. Life, by its very nature, is in constant flux. Our bodies, emotions, and life circumstances are ever-evolving. Therefore, each practice is unique, reflecting our state of being at that very moment. The practice, while steadfast in its essence, is a dynamic interplay with the ever-changing tapestry of our lives.

Yoga as a Refuge

As my children navigate the cusp of adulthood and the family dynamics shift, my practice stands as a refuge – an unchanging point of return. It's not about resisting change; it's about nurturing a part of myself that remains constant – a compassionate observer that offers space and solace, regardless of life's tumultuous tides.

The Quiet Rebellion

In a world addicted to change, where tech giants like Apple thrive on the constant churn of innovation, my yoga practice is a quiet rebellion. It's a space where I can step away from the relentless drive for the new and find peace in the perpetual presence of my inner sanctuary.

Invitation to Stillness

As you step onto your mat or cushion this week, I invite you to consider the value of steadfastness. In a culture that idolizes progress, there’s profound wisdom in nurturing the unchanging.

Let your practice be a testament to the enduring, a sanctuary where the soul can breathe, unfettered by the relentless pace of change.

In closing, remember that amidst the whirlwind of life, your practice can be your anchor, a testament to the timeless amidst the transient.

Take care and embrace the unwavering spirit of your practice. 


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