When writing a flow, either for yourself or for a class, it is always imperative to know, not just what poses flow well together, but what the over all goal for the flow is and how each poses plays a part in getting to that purpose. For example, if you are witting a flow to open up the hips, and you feel that pigeon (rajakapotasana) would be the crowing achievement; naturally you would want all your poses leading up to that to be gradual opening of the hips. Just as this is an important understanding in writing flows, so too is it an important understanding when understanding our lives and our purposes in this world.
Currently I have been reevaluating my situation in life; my purpose in this greater world. I have been reading many books and answering many deep questions, yet one of the principle threads that runs through my research is the idea not just of my purpose, but the purpose of everyone and thing in my life.
I took this concept to the mat this morning. I settled on a mysore ashtanga practice (practice to the music of your breath) to help clear the water so to speak. As I stepped into each asana with great intent, I contemplated its effects and its greater purpose to my over all practice. I took an even grater notice than normal to what my body was doing during each asana, what was being stretched, which made me shake, where was my energy flowing in each one?
When I was finished, I continued to read one of the books helping me find my purpose (Zen and the Art of Making a Living by Laurence G Boldt). The day’s chapter was centered on a quote from Shakespeare’s As You Like It,“All the world’s a stage; and all the men and women merely players”. The author, keeping with that theme, related the importance of every action, actor, word, prop, and scene having a purpose to make a good play, then when paralleling it with life asked “what purpose do the people in your own life have to you?”.
Each person, animal, being, and even material object serves a higher purpose for being in our lives. If we view that everyone has a purpose in our lives, then we have a purpose in theirs. We are just as needed to help that person progress to their next steps in life, as they are to us. Weather in a negative or in a positive way, we are all sent to people to learn and to teach. So then I throw these questions to you; what purpose do the people in your life serve? What purpose are you to them? Are you full filling that purpose?
Just as in yoga everything in a flow has an over all goal, and a “finishing pose”; so to do our lives. Additionally each person, being, and material object is just another asana, breath, or count to that purpose; if we chose to see life that way. The finishing move in yoga is the icing on the cake, it is that moment of pure yoga bliss for a practice; if you life does not seem to be heading to a blissful state, are you focusing on the right poses?
It is not as if this is a new, or particularly profound concept, however as we age this seems to be one of the more forgotten ideals. Life takes a drastic turn for the better when we look at every part of it as being something leading to our higher purpose, and when we revile our higher purpose to ourselves as a whole. Even if we hold these concepts to our hearts, how often to we stop to think, what is my purpose and how is this helping me get there?
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose” (Psalm 23). This is probably one of the most culturally known Psalms in Western society thanks to the song Turn Turn Turn by The Byrds; and one of the most timeless ideas overall. To everything there is a purpose, to the asanas in yoga, to action, to the people in our lives, to life itself.