Endorphins are only part of the story. Each time we make a choice we draw our consciousness in a particular direction. When we make a dedicated practice of getting on the yoga mat, of choosing something positive, our outlook changes. We are using the power of consciousness to reshape ourselves.
Most of us feel better, calmer, happier after we get off the yoga mat. The traditional explanation is that the body has gotten a workout and the mind has gotten quieter, etc.
I think there’s also a lot of power in the recognition that we chose to do something that feels good. To recognize that we can make that choice in one circumstance reminds us that we can make it in others as well.
In the last 10 days, I’ve had three Certified teachers show up to my classes–only one of whom was expected. Each time I’ve had an immediate moment of tension and dismay, wondering if I’m going to be able to teach “well enough”. And yet everything has turned out fine.
Recognizing the narrative that arises as nothing more than narrative is essential to moving beyond it. Instead, we need to focus on what is.
We all have stories. Some of them are amusing, some of them are tragic, some of them are ecstatic.
But the stories are not what we are. What we are is deeper and more subtle than any story. Yoga is our path to find that deeper experience.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” — Lao-Tze
“Watch that first step, it’s a lulu!” — Bugs Bunny
The place where they meet is where we need abhaya–fearlesness. The willingness to take that first step, even though we know the implications are going to be huge.
“Better to live your own dharma badly than someone else’s perfectly.” But how do you tell what your dharma is?
We come back to the union of feeling and intellect. We recognize and acknowledge our feelings, then we examine them, and over time we discern where they lead us.