By David Cary
I came to yoga in the early 2000s quite by accident.
At the time I was struggling with ‘a big move’. Yoga was calming, and of course being in a room graced by a sprinkling of beautiful people did help.
I finished one term, and, not knowing, moved to the next level class. Was that a mistake! Suddenly it was filled with lentil eaters, ujai breathers, spiritual people and other misfits from the fringes of society. And it was hard. That was the end.
A year or so later, I found myself in a small class run by a beautiful, kind, older lady.
Yoga became part of me. Her classes were two hours and very classical – from today’s perspective she taught from a Krishnmacharya/Desikachar lineage. There was no funny business, just lots of breath work, slow movement, long held poses, luxuriously spacious shavasana, quite a thread of gentle banter, and something considered revolutionary by today’s thin skinned, histrionic, dead-headed, meme-bashing and social media driven teaching community, strength work.
My life began to change.
Over some years I took up running and did a lot of core work, traveled, started a failed business and with some meanderings started another.
Its many years now since I crossed paths with that most special teacher. Slowly I drifted away although I continued to practice intermittently. Then, again, by chance, I found a new ‘teacher’. And while he is far from perfect he showed me again how to relax into that place within, empowered me to do it for myself. My life began to change. I discovered the sutras and the gita. I fell into yin.
My yoga journey has seen a lot pass. My life has changed radically and not at all.
Over the many years of my practice there is only one thing that has mattered. That state of calm or clarity, when thought is focused, identity supports our being, and we are free to experience our deepest and most subtle selves. It is this place of radical acceptance, the heart if you like, that empowers our movement through life.
Yoga is a very simple thing. Patanjali says it so beautifully and simply,
Yoga is to still the turning of thought.
Here is the crux of it all.
The drive to be something is thought, the drive to become is thought, your intention is thought. Everything you can think, beyond our most practical needs, is only going to take you away from the beauty that already animates you.
So please discard your intention, do your yoga, and pass the ketchup.