A woman wants to become a trapeze artist. Her dream is to fly through the air like a bird. When she finds an instructor, he says for the first sixty days she will need to walk a tightrope. The woman thinks it is no big deal. But when she begins, she finds the exercise stifling and repetitive. “I came here to learn to fly, not to feel boxed in,” she tells her instructor. He says, “Learning to fly doesn’t begin by jumping into the air. First, you have to know and control every part of your body. That’s what this tightrope exercise forces you to do. When you know the rules of your body inside out, then you can unfold seamlessly into flight.” The woman’s challenge in this story is similar to the challenge we sometimes face in our yoga practice. We wish to get done with some of the more physically intense asanas or pranayamas and just let our bodies and breath bend and flow. We have seen some yoga practitioners do this and we crave the same ease. But just like a trapeze artist cannot fly before she knows and controls the muscles in her body, we cannot truly flow and unfurl in our spiritual growth before we have immersed ourselves in the daily practice of yoga philosophy and kriyas. Once you know the discipline inside out, you – and your body – can break them and reach new levels of flow, physically and mentally. Wake up to the delicious irony of the yoga practice; enjoy the discipline to enjoy the surrender.
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