Last week my husband and I celebrated our 14-year anniversary. It’s hard to believe 14 years have passed already or that it’s actually been 19 years since we first fell in love. We first met in college – I was 18 at the time, while he is 4 years older than me – and since that time we have truly grown up with each other.
We saw each other through good times and bad, crazy times, sad times, and the fun, unforgettable times as well. We made it through our 20s together when you question everything, yet still think you know it all – which was a feat in itself. We made it through career transitions and doctorate dissertations, and being apart for months at a time when I was always on the road. And we still have a long way to go.
But as we toasted our years together last weekend I was most proud of our commitment and dedication to each other which then got me thinking about all of the commitments we make throughout the journey of our lives.
People like to declare they are committed to so many things. I am committed to my marriage is often stated by many, but so are:
I am committed to my job, career, or work.
I am committed to my children.
I am committed to my pet.
I am committed to such and such a cause.
I am committed to finding an answer.
I am committed to finding a solution.
I am committed to seeing this through.
I am committed to living in a certain manner.
The list could go on and on. We like to declare the things that matter to us. These are our priorities. These things are where we put all of our energy. But how often do we actually think about the commitments we are making to ourselves? Most things we are committed or dedicated to are for others or extremely external. We are committed to our career because we like getting paid. We are committed to our families and pets because we like to feel that connection of oneness or togetherness. We are committed to a cause because we want to do something beyond ourselves, for others, for the world.
When I hear someone say they are committed to their yoga practice that is something else entirely. That is a commitment to their Self. It’s an inward journey they are embarking on and it is much like a marriage. It is a union like any other and not always easy to keep up when things get tough.
There have been times in my marriage where I think, “ Why do I like this guy?” and there have been times in my yoga practice where I think, “ Why do I like doing this?” Yet, if I show up for my husband, being open to who he is that day or within that moment, or if I show up for the next yoga class no matter what happened in the previous one, I am usually shown why each one of these commitments is completely worth it.
A yoga practice that has a dedicated practitioner behind it will reap all of the benefits that everyone seeks when they head to the yoga studio. Yoga isn’t something you do once a month, or because you need a good stretch today, even though that’s what most of the world thinks.
Yoga is a seeking of our best selves. It takes an enormous amount of commitment to face your Self everyday and decide to love that person. To practice yoga is to seek change – change of the body, change of the mind, change ultimately of a life. It can be uncomfortable at times, it can also be painful as we release past injuries, fears, and insecurities, but it also can be exhilarating as we realize all that is possible for our lives, stretching indeed for our highest potential.
Stay committed. Be willing to change. Know that having a new understanding of a posture brings on a new understanding of your Self and all of the infinite beauty you hold within you. The road ahead might not always be easy, but being dedicated to your growth as an individual is a selfless act, for as you reach for a better life you begin to have the capacity to truly affect great change in the life of others. You can ultimately heal the world, one breath, one moment at a time.
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