What is This Life?

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What is This Life?

“What is this life?”

This is the question my instructor asked our class yesterday as an answer to the question that came before: “Why yoga?”

There were thirty-something people in the room, and just as many different answers. But at the heart of all the answers was this:

Who am I?

Why am I here?

What is this life?

Though we may not always be aware of it, we practice yoga to find the answer. It might be a lifetime before we finally receive it, and it all makes sense. Or maybe the clarification never comes at all. But each day we show up to the mat with a willingness to greet whatever comes up, and we get a little closer to the truth.

And the truth is, none of us is getting out of here alive.

One day (and we’ll never know when that day will be), we are going to die. We can try to deny this fact, but we can’t escape it. At some point, this life will come to an end. Death can’t be avoided or prevented, no matter what. 

We can avoid walking down a certain street we know to be unsafe, but while we’re driving down another, an incoming car crashes into us and just like that we’re gone. We can spend our whole lives worrying, and obsessing over our safety, but the reality is safety is merely an illusion. We have no control over our death. There is nothing we can do to stop it.

The sooner we accept this truth, the better our lives will be.

This is why we practice yoga. We practice acceptance at the end of every class (Savasana is literally translated into Corpse Pose). We surrender our efforts, and learn to be at rest.

And then we get up and do it all over again, perhaps with a little more clarity.

A little more purpose.

A little less fear.

And a little more life.

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