If I asked you, what is your life’s purpose?
Where do you want to give your time and energy?
Where do you want to invest in?
What your answer would be?
We read and repeat all the time that the one and only truth is love, and I truly believe that, because romance and optimism have a special place in my character, that we all try sincerely for that, for love. But, if you take a closer look around you, you will see that a lot of people feel lonely, & by teaching yoga I see it really often and maybe it is one of the most important reasons for some of the health problems of our times. You may feel lonely and still have many people around you, friends, partner, children, but the quality of your relationship defines if you feel lonely or not. You may also declare that you have chosen to live in solidarity and that you are having a really good time with yourself.
The Breath that is one of the most important tools of our practice and one of the basic functions of the human organism in order to be alive, is also the way we connect with the rest of the system, with every inhalation we receive oxygen, prana (vital force), and with every exhalation we offer, release carbon dioxide that trees need. Every moment of our life, every breath is an evidence that we are interconnected, that we are an integral part of a system that is always there to gives us life, and we also have to give back.
In the practice of yoga and in Indian tradition in general the meaning of giving to others, Gods, teachers, feelings or sensations, is something that it is done to focus our consciousness in order to directly experience the present moment, the Now. The recognition of them also is a reminder that all the creatures and the experiences are connected with an unsaturated bond. This allows the mind to release its need to know everything and at the same time encourages the ego to dissolve. The meaning of giving to others allows us to appreciate and respect everything as it is instead of seeking what we would like to be, long before we reach the point of facing our death. Offering our appreciation and respect to others is maybe the best way to define the word yoga that means union and it is the way of exploring the fundamental nature of relationships through the quality of love. In fact, through our relationships with others all the yoga practices ultimately evolve.
The challenge and the difficulties people facing on creating essential and authentic relationships is not a problem of our times, nor of some specific culture. The avoidance of them is something that human creatures experience universally. In the oldest stories of yoga, on the hymns of the Vedas, in a prehistoric mythical time, they sing in a poetic rhythm for the problems of relationships and the experience of joy when these are solved. From the start of the yogic tradition thousands of people have worked and they still are for this basic problem on relationships and on how we are going to have an open and radiant heart.
Even from the first step on Patanjalis Eight Limbs Path, on the traditional yoga that is called yamas, or the practice of relationship with others, is mentioned the importance of the connection with the other beings as an integral part in all the forms of yoga.
But lets talk with facts, in the study you will find below that has taken place in Harvard University and has lasted for 75 years, and this is really rare because most of them stop around ten years because there is no funding, deaths etc. have participated 724 men from their puberty till their deep ages. So, the scientists observed the lives of these people keeping records from their health tests, watching their lives on their jobs, on their social life, even inside their own house, in their living room for all these years with the goal to find what the people that experience happiness had in common. Half of them where students on Harvard and the other half from a poor neighbourhood in Victoria and some of them didn’t even had hot or drinking water. Spend 12 minutes of your time to watch and see the result and then go again at the beginning of the article to re-answer my questions:
An other study that is called The Blue Zone Project that we first saw it on 2005 at the National Geographic magazine with the title¨The secrets of a long life” defines five spots of the planet (one of them is Ikaria in Greece) that people live longer and what they have in common. Once again a healthy family life and their social relationships have a prime role. See more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Zone
The happiness that a meaningful relationship gives is something irreplaceable, it gives health and energy, the feeling of contentment and security, a calmer mind and a full and radiant heart. In contrary a virtual, compromised relationship with problems and arguments makes us feel empty and sick. Family, friends, life partners are important pieces of your life that await from you to give them the attention that they deserve. You deserve the best and it is out there, but it needs equal work from both sides, time, effort and patience.
It is the practice of life, the “Seventh Series” as it is called in the Ashtanga Yoga world, it is the most demanding but also the most important. Whatever you do, no matter how many meditations, chanting, asanas, or as much as you read and feeling spiritual, life is out there. The practice of yoga has a meaning in the here and now and in the ability to share it.
Have a good practice!
“There isn’t time, so brief is life for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving, and but an instant, so to speak, for that.” Mark Twein
(Use of extracts from the book The Mirror of Yoga – Awakening the Intelligence of Body and Mind – Richard Freeman)