On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace
Why do you practice? You might find some answers in this movie.
Somewhere along the way in my own yoga journey, my dedication to the practice became clear to my friends and family, and they would ask why? What is it about yoga that draws you in? I’ve had many friends and students share this same experience. People want to know why they find yoga so compelling.
“I feel great after a class.” “It helps me feel balanced.” “The poses help me with my neck/back/shoulders/etc.” Your answer to this question might be in one of these areas of physical or mental health. But often, I find that the answer is difficult to articulate. I usually want to say to people: ‘I can’t explain it to you, you have to experience for yourself; but it is life-altering.’
What is yoga doing for you? I recently watched a Netflix movie entitled “On Yoga: The Architecture of Peace.” Made in 2017 by director Heitor Dhalia, it follows photographer Michael O’Neill as he talks to Yoga masters in India, Tibet and New York. It’s a wonderfully visual movie and enjoyable for the cinematography alone. But I found myself most drawn in by the various descriptions of what yoga is, and what it does for practitioners, to be the most compelling.
A highlight for me was this message:
The real thesis of yoga is not that you get your health, your well-being, your inner peace from outside yourself, which our culture often teaches us, but rather, you have it already within you. And then the question becomes “what am I doing that’s disturbing what I already have”; as opposed to “how can I get something that I don’t already have.” If your happiness is something you have to get from the outside, then everyone has power over you. But if the question is, “what am I doing that’s preventing me from being happy?”, then I have the power. That is something I can do something about.
What a powerful message. And what a tremendous answer to the “why?” question. Why do you love yoga? It provides me with the tools to cultivate the happiness I already have within me. Or maybe more simply: When I practice, I can literally see my path to happiness.
I’ll take that every day – and twice on Sunday.