In the decade and a half that I’ve been teaching yoga and spiritual pursuits, I’ve been around the block and in a sense, this ain’t my first time at the rodeo. I’ve spent a lot of time taking a very close, personal look at what works and what doesn’t within the modern day spiritual practice. Over the years, I’ve developed a simple set of three rules that, if followed, should help direct you through all that life and the practice might throw at you.
Consider these as your three rules of spirituality:
- Don’t get weird. If you’re already weird–in whatever way that might manifest itself–let your freak flag fly. And don’t go a changin’ simply because you get the impression that you “should” to fit in with yoga. There are few things that are a bigger bummer than leading an inauthentic life, trying to fit yourself into a rainbow filled sparkling box of yoga sunshine if that ain’t your gig. No need to trade your motorcycle boots for hemp flip-flops or your bangles for a bindi…unless you sincerely feel moved to. Yoga can help you to feel more authentically you. Let yoga fit into your life, not the other way around.
- Just try to be less of an asshole. Let’s be honest. We are all human. There are gonna be good days and there are going to be bad days. As much as we move around on our mat, life’s challenges will push us to the brink and occasionally kill our yoga buzz. Can we all just allow ourselves to be human and agree to try to be less of a jerk in those stressful times? It won’t always work, but it sure is more possible than trying to be a perfect ray of sunshine all the time. That’s a standard no one can achieve and will only result in greater frustration. Quit it, do your best and keep on keepin’ on.
- Always be ready. You never know when it’s going to happen. And, by it, I mean your life. Always be ready. Say yes to the opportunities that arise, because interestingly, everything that appears before you is meant just for you and is an opportunity to engage in and participate with your life. It’s like that quote by Joseph Campbell that goes: “We are not looking for the meaning of life, so much as we are looking for the experience of being alive.” Well, this is it. Start saying a hearty yes to all the moments of your life: the good, the bad and the ugly… Because they’re all yours. Engage in the experience, don’t shy away, and what you’ll find is that life will unfold itself as a perfect expression of your active participation.
These three rules reveal to us the number one gift of yoga, which is that everything is awesomely okay. We will come to know this through the full and active participation in every single moment of our lives without pushing anything away. Embrace and accept your life exactly as it is and come to know this truth for yourself.
Read all about the three rules in Alanna’s latest book: Yoga Beyond the Mat: How to Make Yoga Your Spiritual Practice