We all walk a different path in life; some of us even walk a variety of different paths at the same time. Think about it, we walk the path of youth into young adulthood, on the bud of providing for ourselves with new responsibilities.
After that point, some of us choose to take the path that involves further education, while others of us must follow directly the path that requires us to work. Both entail that we are responsible for ourselves and must learn about being independent.
Then, some of us choose to take the path of joining with another, connecting our path with theirs. And if we then choose to expand this family of two, to include children, then our responsibilities change once again, as we now must take care of the little one we have brought into this world.
But just because we all follow a different path, are a part of a different age group, or believe in a different lifestyle, does not mean that we can’t all still be connected in a powerful way. The next time you find yourself waiting in your yoga class for it to start, take a look around you, who do you see?
Do you see a group of people all at the exact same point in their lives? Or do you see people who look like they are students, others who look like they are parents, and some who could be in between? Each one is there for a single purpose, because they, and you, know that no matter what stage you are at in your life, you all crave the benefits of yoga.
The Multiple Paths of Life
The way I see it, there is a multitude of paths that we all frequently share. Maybe, you are currently soul-deep in the searching-for-your-identity path, or maybe you are love-deep in the connecting-with-another path?
I know I am currently parenthood-deep in the raising-my-family path, but I am certainly looking forward to the harmoniously-deep I-survived-all-that-and-can-now-just-be path.
Now, I haven’t finished my journey in life yet, (thankfully) but I believe that our journey of awareness can relatively be divided up into the above main four paths (or stages) in life. That at some point or another we might all cross similar paths throughout our lives.
Sometimes, we might be stuck on a path for years, while at other times it might be a mere few moments, we may even be sitting at a crossroads of two different paths, unsure what to do. But what I do know is that the benefits of yoga are there for the taking, to all, no matter what path you are currently on in your life.
For each path, I offer a yoga pose, one that I believe relates directly to the feelings we are often going through at that moment in time. Poses that will help to connect our life journey to our yoga journey, to remind us that yoga directly influences us and helps to encourage us to take the best path we can.
1. The Soul-Searching Path
This particular path I (and I am sure many others) find myself on too many times to count. I continually am trying to better myself, to find myself, my identity, and wonder if I’ll ever know if I am on the “right” path.
This is the time when you must continue to push forward, to try new things. A time when you need to figure out what works for you – and what doesn’t – and sometimes, this means giving up the familiar.
And on that note, I turn to the pose that reflects this part of the journey. I have decided to go off the beaten path, so to speak, and selected a pose that although many of you may have seen before, perhaps may have been too afraid to give it a try.
Is it a challenging pose? Yes, it is, but as I said before, this is the stage in your life when you should be pushing the limits. And when you work towards a goal in yoga all the uncertainties in life won’t seem like such a big deal because you have a yoga goal to accomplish.
2. Too-Busy-to-Soul-Search Path
This is the path that we all must travel on when we find ourselves in survival mode, trying to get through the day-to-day of our lives in one piece. For some, this may mean keeping up with studies, a job, and your life; for others, this could mean a career, a family, and little time for anything else.
Use these poses to help remind you that it is important that no matter how busy your life gets you can always receive the benefits of yoga if you make some time for your practice. Even ten minutes a day can do a world of wonders to help when you are feeling overwhelmed.
3. Feeling-Lost Path
Sounds similar to the Soul-Searching Path, but this is the path that we tend to find ourselves on when we are at a crossroads. When we finish school and find ourselves asking, now what? Are we going to be able to find a job within our field? Should we find a job or maybe take some time off to travel?
When we are let go from a job and don’t know where to go because that is all we have ever known. Do we return to school? Do we take some time off to figure out what we really want in life? Do we find a similar job even though we know that may not be what we really want to do for the rest of our lives?
When we have focussed so much of our time on our children and they are becoming more independent and don’t need us as much, we start to question our role. Do we now get to do the things we have put off for so long? Do we get to look after ourselves once again?
This is the time in our lives when we often take a look in the mirror and might find a hard time recognizing the person staring back at us; we may even feel as though we are stuck in multiple roles. We hunger to get that feeling of normalcy back into our lives.
It is for that reason that I have selected Mermaid Pose to match this path in our lives. Not only does this pose offer us the perfect position as if we are looking at ourselves in the mirror and wondering what to do next, but the idea of a mermaid who is half fish and half human fits the persona of how we may actually be feeling.
This pose can also be modified to fit within your current practice, but the premise behind it stays the same. One of the great things that I can say is that when you are feeling lost in life, it is through your consistent yoga practice that will help you regain that sense of normalcy that you so desperately need.
4. Finding-Some-Peace-at-Last Path
If I’m being honest, I am not entirely sure that this path truly exists. I am, of course, hopeful that it does, but can’t recall myself being on this path for very long. I know that we as followers of the yoga path are told to be in the present, not to live in the past or worry about the future, but I often find the present so fleeting.
If I think of those few moments when I truly felt at peace and wasn’t looking ahead to what came next, I am sad to say they are few and far between. As much as I would love to be on this path right now, I estimate that I still have a long way to go.
There is a chance that this may not even be a path, but just a bunch of signposts that remind us of the peace that we can obtain. If we are fortunate to have found this path, even amid the distraction of the trees, mountains to climb, and obstacles to overcome, then we must be humble for that which we have found.
I present to you your final pose, the Humble Warrior. A challenging pose, but one that reminds us to stay strong through all the paths we cross and hopefully we will find the peace that we seek. That we will be able to say we survived it all, have thrived from the benefits of yoga, and have our practice and peace to show for it.
No Matter What Path We Take…
… We are all on the journey of life. We are all connected with one another and we share similar experiences. And in this journey, yoga is always there for us, like the ground beneath our feet, ready to support us as we make our way along.
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