What Yoga Can Teach You About Becoming Who You Are
by Amy Jones Feb 8, 2014
Focused on going to yoga in the next hour, my mind slowly begins to spin. Slow at first, like a windmill that just barely gets caught by a breeze. Until the air is steady enough and the whole thing is moving at a steady clip with no sign of stopping. At current, I have 51 minutes to go. The windmill of my mind starts to pick up, and the little monkey that runs it has a lot to say:
“You know all those poses already”
“This is dumb, you don’t even like it”
“You’re only going because you know you should”
“Why are you putting yourself through this”
“You know all those poses already”
Ah, there it is. A second time my monkey mind says it to me, it hits in a new place and a simple, but profound pocket of awareness opens for me. Around yoga, and generally around the concept of practice, namely OM, and then the experience of life as a whole.
Yes, I do know all the poses. I dislike most of them. I can hold all of them for only about half as long as I’m supposed to. And my balance on the right side of my body is a joke. But the poses aren’t the point. What I know or don’t know about the yoga, practice, or experience of life I’m about to engage in isn’t the point. The purpose of any of it, is to see where my body is at that given point, what I feel and experience inside. And so, as my monkey mind railed about how I knew all those poses, another voice met it and said “Yes. But you don’t yet know where your body will be inside of those poses. There is something to discover.”
And my compass was reset.
All the times I have railed against doing practice, let myself off the hook, convinced myself there wasn’t anything to learn there, nothing worth finding-all those excuses were places I had ignored the internal experience available to me and had my compass and the wisdom outside of myself.
We don’t come to OM because the position or the stroking or the connection in and of itself is the magic—we come to OM because what we experience of ourselves inside that positioning, stroking and connection is what is the true potency we want to touch. It is my internal experience, connecting with someone else’s that makes this practice so profound. With the clit as the access point, we have the opportunity to touch and bump up against a myriad number of personal stories, cultural conditioning, deeply held beliefs and first hand experience of sexuality, connection, intimacy and truth telling. Those are all things that exist inside of us. They don’t belong to the practice of OM, just like me knowing and feeling my body don’t belong to yoga. And so, when we resist OM or any other thing in our life, what we are really resisting is ourselves—the opportunity to do the exact thing we came here to do:: know ourselves deeply, wake up, and have a different experience of life than we have been conditioned to have. Suddenly I don’t dread yoga so much. Because what my body can do inside of those poses, what I can discover about myself is a much more interesting game than just the act of going through the motions, thinking what I could find is in the yoga, not in me.
But then of course, there in lies the paradox. Because it is only IN the yoga, that I touch those parts of myself. It is only by putting myself in these ridiculously contorted poses that I find the stillness, the resolve or the reservoir of serenity available while legs and arms are twisted in the strangest of ways and sweat is pouring into my eyelids and the arches of my feet are burning and I am pretty sure I’m going to topple over but wow my mind is calm and all my attention is focused on one point in the mirror in front of me.
And so it is true for OM. Only when you are willing to be vulnerable, to say “would you like to OM?” To admit you have a desire for something as taboo as having your clitoris stroked for nothing more than to connect with that person and learn about yourself, an entire world of who you are inside is revealed. Things that dating or sex or time on a meditation cushion will never reveal because the “contortions” you find yourself inside of in OM unlock places of desire, of shame, of simple pure pleasure that otherwise you would not touch in your controlled, linear well planned thought based life.
And so, off I go to yoga. And then, maybe an OM.