Have you ever wondered why the popularity of yoga is on the rise? Is it because everyone is excited about the prospect of standing on their heads and doing splits? Or is there something much more profound that you don’t know about?
As a yoga and meditation practitioner for the last 9 years, I learnt that doing yoga is different from being in yoga. In other words, yoga is not just something we do in a class or on the mat, it’s also an attitude we carry in our daily lives.
Life is interesting because it’s diverse, with multiple shapes, colours and surprises. It is not monotonous; there are always situations and events that surprise us both in pleasant or unpleasant ways.
What gives life this element of surprise is that it is made up of two opposing energies that some may call; Yin & Yang, Sun & Moon, Positive & Negative, Up and Down, Good and Bad, Right and Left, Hot and Cold, North and South and so on.
Because these are opposing, we call them polarities.
As humans, we tend to choose the pleasurable side of the polarity and attach to it. We hold on to it with our hands and nails and experience extreme discomfort and a deep lack of desire to experience the dis-pleasurable side.
For example, we often welcome and seek happiness, joy, enthusiasm, laughter, wealth and success but by contrast, we reject, avoid, and push away sadness, disappointment, failure, poverty, tears and so forth. Have you ever wondered why we do that? Why aren’t we able to embrace both sides with calmness?
De-polarize your mind
Adopting Yoga as an attitude to guide our lives means that we accept both sides of the rope and are able to contain both pain and pleasure, happiness and sadness, success and failures in our body and mind. This requires a strong spirit.
It’s difficult because our mind is split in two which leads to duality in our thinking patterns. Our mind places our experiences in two boxes of good and bad, yes and no and right and wrong. This colours our perspective of a situation and challenges our ability to move from duality (thinking in terms of two) into Unity (thinking in terms of one).
For example, when we fail in life, we often feel disappointed and upset. Some of us work hard to learn from our mistakes which paves the way to success. Having this experience helps us remember that in every failure there is success and vice versa.
Content, Contained, and Continuous
Instead of having our mind function using these two boxes, we need to elevate our mind to form a triangle where at the top of its peak lies neutrality and oneness.
By shifting our perspective from duality to neutrality, we will undoubtedly live a life free from suffering, un-attached to our likes and dislikes and free from the need to control the outcome. This leaves us more energised and in flow with the rhythm of life.
Gradually with this awareness, we cultivate a state of contentment – rather than happiness which is fleeting and depending on things – contentment is everlasting and is often combined with peace, calmness and containment. When we are contained, we become able to hold both polarities within us just as they come. We simply accept all that comes with a wide embrace as large as the arms of a mother who embraces her child. All is welcome. When we repeat this practice often enough, we become continuous. We travel on this journey of life content, contained and continuous.
Being in Yoga: A Guide
If you want to check whether you are truly adopting Yoga as an attitude ask yourself these questions:
- Do I have desires? Am I attached to these desires? How will I be impacted if I don’t reach them?
- Do I have expectations? Am I attached to these expectations? How will I be impacted if I don’t meet them?
- Am I carrying judgements about myself or others? Have I tested to see if these judgements are real? Am I able to drop these judgements? Why? Why not?
- Am I making assumptions about a situation? Have I tested to see if any of these assumptions are true?
- Am I projecting my experience, belief or feeling on something or someone else? Can I drop this and focus on what is really true?
Originally from Cairo, Shama Kaur is Egypt’s first Kundalini Yoga Teacher & Trainer. At the age of 25, Shama completed the Level 1 Aquarian Trainer Program in New Mexico. Ever since she has been devoted to spreading the teachings throughout Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Palestine, Dubai, Morocco, and Tunisia. Shama is a Professional Trainer in the Aquarian Trainer’s Academy. Currently, She is training as a Yoga Therapist with the Guru Ram Das association and is pursuing a degree in psychology and counseling. She is also the founder of YallaYoga Center. She’s a graduate of Business Strategy and Commerce from McGill University, Montreal, and holds a Masters degree from King’s College London.