“…yoga literally means union(to yoke)-union with the higher self. Baked into the core of the practice is self-actualization-realizing your capacity for limitless transformation in the service of this best self.”
that quote is actually from the introduction section of Wanderlust by Jeff Krasano, not actually the first chapter which this post is supposed to be about. but i think that quote lays some of the groundwork for the journey that this book, and yoga in general leads you on. wanderlust is a great book whether you are brand new to yoga-maybe you have just heard about it, maybe you have done a few practices or been to a few classes and are looking to go deeper, or whether you deep into it and practice everyday. wanderlust grounds you to a purpose, to a passion and helps you realize and actualize the transformation into the best version of yourself with yoga as the guide. and i’m not just talking about the physical aspect of the yoga-the asana practice, but it explores the teachings, the meditations, and the spiritual guides to the practice as well.chapter 1 of Wanderlust is titled “find your practice” and it explores the basis of yoga and how to begin incorporating yoga into your life and how that can and will, enhance it.
let me backtrack a little and get into why i’ve found yoga to be so vital and enhancing to life and it goes back to the quote at the top of the post. yoga is about union with the higher self. well what exactly does this mean? what is the higher self? this higher self that the quotes speaks of it literally referring to the best version of yourself that you can be in any given moment on this earth. it almost like maximizing yourself’s full potential. a quote that you have probably heard a little more often than the one from the book(lets be honest, this quote is pretty oversaturated) is “live life to the fullest” or “live every moment to the fullest.” at its heart those quotes are incapsulating the same concept, -we want to make sure that in every moment-for its the only moment we have- that we are maximizing its potential because it will soon be gone, and fade away. over the years this quote has come to be associated with exploring, traveling, adventure. you will see it on motivational posters with pictures of people in incredible locations across the world exploring and adventuring. i think over time, especially personally, this has created a sort of disconnect with the concept of”living life to the fullest.” i mean, how reasonable is it to travel the world like that? while i would love to, i know at the same time that i don’t by any means have the resources right now, such as money, to do such a thing. so does that mean that the moment i am in right now(sitting and typing on an overly cluttered desk in the middle of my house) is not being maximized to its full potential? the answer is no, not by any means.
to me, the heart of what those phrases, and their connections are getting at is the feeling you have when you are standing on that mountaintop, or sitting on the beach with the waves crashing, and that is a sense of exploration and wonderment, not just in the physical world but in ones self as well. and once you start to feel that wonderment that is derived through new and exciting experiences, you begin to feel extremely present with yourself and you are fully in that moment, and when you are fully aware and present in that moment, then you have maximized it to its fullest potential.
so then how does this relate back to yoga? well the path of yoga, is all about becoming more self-aware, about mindfulness and about presence. through the physical practice-asanas, through the teachings, the meditations etc it all goes into allowing yourself to be fully present in each and every moment. and it doesn’t just stop there, yoga challenges you to analyze yourself in these moments, to expose your weakness and your strengths, to challenge your fears, to ground your desires, and to fully actualize and then realize the best version that yourself can be in each and every moment. and when we start striving to become the best versions of ourselves in each and every moment, then we start enhancing the lives of the people around us and helping them realize the best version of their selves that they can become.
chapter 1 on wanderlust is all about beginning to connect to this purpose, and the practice that will help guide, lead, and challenge you to start visualizing this higher version of yourself by finding your practice.
to give you a little spoiler alert, it will never happen. you will fail, time and time again. you will stumble. you will always fall out of poses, you will always find your mind trailing off during meditations, you will find your emotions enslaved and controlled by your physical desires time and time again, but the failures are part of the journey. and the journey is what it is all about.
i’m excited to go on this journey with you.
peace + love,