I just ran into this saying from the Talmud the other day and it’s been tumbling around in my mind, because I think it summarizes the asana (posing) practice of yoga precisely. Many beginners and even experienced yogis struggle with their asanas on the mat – Why can’t I do this or that pose? Why is this harder today than it was yesterday? Why is that person over there able to do something that I can’t do?
Of course, we know in our intellectual mind that the asana practice isn’t so much about achieving a pose, than it is learning our bodies and being alone with ourselves to try to find peace and end suffering. But human nature (and that little voice in our head) unfortunately tags along with us on the mat – and we have our doubts whether we’re on the right path.
Taking this quote to the mat, try to understand that the whole of Yoga – the eight limbs – is designed for you to achieve peace – to grow! grow! It often seems like the universe is designed specifically to make us fail and feel like failures. But this quote reminds us that in fact the opposite is true – the universe wants each and every one of us to succeed – to grow! Grow! We each have our own angel whispering in our ear.
As you do your next asana practice, forget about getting into that pose, how the other yogis look, or even how your practice went last week. Rather, understand that the universe is set up for us to succeed, and listen to your angel whispering in your ear, and Grow! Grow!