Although it would be super nice to start a yoga practice and then immediately transform into a centered person who can stand on their head reciting the Bhagavad Gita, things don’t exactly happen overnight.
Yoga can’t be conquered. It’s a continual process that will always have the potential to evolve. I’ve never heard someone who has devoted their life to the study of yoga say, “Well, that’s it! I’ve mastered yoga. I ‘m done now. Moving on!”
Yoga isn’t a one-off achievement, but rather a lifestyle that you commit to…for the rest of your life. Much like Neo, once you’ve taken the yogi pill, you can’t ever go back to seeing reality the same way. The matrix has been revealed, and now your only option is to continue seeking truth.
So here are seven things you don’t want to hear about yoga—but have to.
1. The Ratio of Happiness to Size of Thigh Gap Is Non-Existent
Although losing weight, or your body renovating, is an inevitable consequence of a yoga practice, the attachment and initial excitement regarding the physical transformation is short-lived.
The more you learn about the yogi teachings, the less you will care about the circumference of your waist, which consequently you will only think of as the material field surrounding your third chakra.
2. Meditation Doesn’t Mean Your Mind Will Ever Shut Off
A lot of people fear meditation because they think they will be "bad" at it. I often hear excuses like, “I can’t shut off my mind,” to explain why someone doesn’t try. Well guess what? No one can shut off their mind fully, unless they are dead.
The mind wanders, dreams, thinks, and is distracted. That’s what minds do! The purpose of meditation is not to become comatose, but to train the mind.
Having the expectation of pure emptiness is impossible. You will experience clarity in moments where your monkey mind is not chatting incessantly, but that doesn’t mean your mind is intended to become a foot and never think again.
3. You Will Never See Food the Same Way Again
Once you have a consistent practice, it is pretty hard to maintain a diet of onion rings with nacho cheese melted on it on top of a pizza that is then used as an ice cream topping. The greater the awareness of your body, the more awareness you have about what you put inside it.
Yeah, there will be times to eat a lot and enjoy, but when you know you want to practice yoga later that day, chances are you are going to abstain from the bean pudding.
4. You Will Be Nicer to Everyone—Including Total Assholes
When you are always reminded of concepts like compassion, empathy, and kindness, it is a lot harder to be snarky—even to people who may "deserve" it.
I often find myself wishing peace, love, and positivity to that guy who cut me off on the highway because he must be in a real rush and I hope everything’s okay and he gets to where he’s going on time.
5. Yoga Is More Than Asana, and That Other Part Will Kick Your Asana
The reason the physical practice of yoga is important is because it builds the strength and flexibility in your body to sit in a meditative pose. That’s right. All that moving is to prepare you to be still longer.
For many of us, one of the hardest things in life is to stop the momentum of the “go go go” lifestyle, and actually sit and experience the quiet. So even though it’s fantastic that you can push into Handstand from a Supine Bound Lotus, it’s all to bring you to the same place of not moving at all.
6. There Is a LOT of Reading, Studying, and Learning in Yoga
Even though you’re never going to be graded on your knowledge of the Sutras, or of the six Indian philosophies integral to the yoga practice, that doesn’t mean you should be relying on Cliff Notes.
In classes, we get snippets of wisdom and research from our teachers, but there is an intellectual component to yoga that can’t be cast aside like pre-calculus, which still to this day I NEVER needed to learn.
7. Once You Start, You Won’t Be Able to Stop
My yoga mat is a home to me. It’s a place where I feel this part of me that I don’t find anywhere else. I miss yoga when I am too sick to practice, and I always feel brought back to myself if I have to take a short break.
Once yoga becomes a part of you, you can’t just easily leave it behind or completely forget it, because it will always be there—tapping you on the Shoulder Stand.