John often makes wise observations that inspire me to write. Last week, after taking my yoga class, he said: “I see the similarity between life and yoga class. Life is a series of poses – some we plan, and some just happen to us.”
Indeed! We can think of each major – and even minor – life event as a “pose.” In my own life, some events that come to mind are: going to Catholic school, taking dance lessons, beginning to teach aerobics, getting married, moving to Hawaii, getting my college degree, moving to Virginia, giving birth to my daughter, suffering from severe post-partum depression and eating disorders, getting divorced, studying Buddhism, learning to meditate, beginning to teach yoga, living in a hermitage, meeting John and “learning to fly.”
Each life event is transient; it has a beginning, a middle and an ending. Past events live in our memories, yet each experience builds upon previous ones to make us who we are today. I would never have planned to get divorced or suffer from depression and eating disorders – but those experiences cracked me open and strengthened me in ways I could not have imagined.
Over time, yoga poses help us build physical and mental strength as well as flexibility. In the same way, the series of “poses” that make up our lives develops strength and flexibility to assist us in facing life’s challenges. We learn to trust and listen to the lessons of life.
A good yoga class incorporates a series of poses that work the body in all different directions and positions – standing, sitting, kneeling, prone and lying on our backs. Some poses are very challenging and others are more relaxing and nurturing. Our bodies, minds and spirits need ALL of this to be whole and healthy. In the same way, over time, if we are paying attention to the “poses” of our lives, we learn to balance our needs for pleasure, work, study, socializing and solitude.
Let us remember that the “poses” of our lives – the tough ones as well as the fun ones – are there to help us become the people we are meant to be: strong, flexible, and balanced souls who radiate peace and compassion to the world.