A student at Yoga Farm recently offered a testimonial that my classes here help her ‘Wear the world lightly’. I’ve been thinking about this statement and the inspiration I feel hearing about this benefit. From the outside, yoga looks like something done on a mat, in a room with lots of people, involving moving, breathing, stretching, perhaps sweating, often by young-and-fit people. After some time of practicing this science, many people find something much more valuable resulting from persistent practice: We wear the world lightly. The Yoga Sutras, an ancient description of the process and outcomes of yoga and meditation, suggests that one of the core benefits of regular meditation practice is contentment. Here is a quote from Yoga Journal:
In nearly every translation of Yoga Sutra II.42, santosha is interpreted as the greatest happiness, the underlying joy that cannot be shaken by life’s tough moments, by injustice, hardship, bad luck. “Contentment is really about accepting life as it is,” says Bell. “It’s not about creating perfection. Life will throw whatever it wants at you, and you ultimately have little control. Be welcoming of what you get.”
Wisdom is choosing to cease wanting our situation to be different, accepting things as-they-are. To know when to work and apply effort, and when to accept-what-is. I’m reminded of the serenity prayer, attributed to Christian theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), here as published in 1940:
“God, give me Grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”
So if you find yourself wishing things were different, with a mind full of complaints, or a body that has persistent aches and pains, or believing family and worldly responsibilities are too much, please know that there is a path to lightness, to freedom through yoga. For me, serenity started on the yoga mat and meditation cushion, years ago. I’ve learned that Grace, Courage and Wisdom can be cultivated, gently, one day at a time. It is possible to learn to wear the world lightly, by choosing when to engage, and knowing when to accept. You can start this journey with me, growing your seeds of wellness in body and mind at Yoga Farm, starting this week. Our classes are holistic and designed to help all people: young and old, large and small, new and experienced.