Everyone who practices yoga diligently and consistently eventually discovers that the most incredible yoga experience is not confined to a yoga school or a yoga studio. It does not solely occur on a mat, and there is no need for a spandex uniform. It is widely understood that the most challenging yoga class takes place beyond the walls of a studio, in the world where you reside. It happens in your home, at school, in the office, while driving on the highway, and in the middle of the ocean.
The true test lies in how you control your thoughts, speech, and actions in these everyday scenarios (as well as in unusual and unexpected circumstances). This is the most demanding yoga practice, and you engage in it outside of the confines of a yoga studio room.
It is during these moments that people and circumstances may trigger us. The daily news can cause anxiety, and societal pressures can weigh heavily on us. Our central nervous system will be affected, and doubts may arise. We often find ourselves on autopilot, following a programmed sequence that has shaped our lives since birth.
Each event leaves an imprint on our minds, leading to subsequent reactions and the establishment of routines and habits that we perceive as truth. This is the nature of the mind.
The ultimate form of yoga is mastering the art of both controlling your reactions when something bothers you and radiating love into the world. It is a continuous state of compassionate awareness and refusing to let the past drag you into suffering. If we spend our lives solely studying scriptures, books, and meditating in seclusion, we may miss out on the adventures of being in a human body, experiencing life through a compassionate lens.
Each difficult event we encounter in life serves as armor. It toughens us, protects us, and, at times, burdens us. However, there comes a point when we must shed that armor and be vulnerable and exposed. We need to let go of all identities, such as gender, race, or religion, and simply exist as human beings.
We are conscious beings within the vast and extraordinary energy field of the universe. While this planet is bustling with activity, the rest of the universe may be envious. And it’s possible that the universe itself possesses consciousness, memory, and free will and is an evolving entity with a character all its own.