Not too flexible, and not too stiff
In today’s world if we say ‘YOG’, the very first thing that comes to our minds is flexibility. The trends of pictorial or visual representation that are especially enhanced by Instagram and other mediums has highlighted flexibility so much that now it has become the scale to measure one’s credibility in Yog.
Being flexible is a very good thing but the question is, how much? Today, Yog practice has become so flexibility-centric that it is hard to differentiate whether the person is performing Yogasan or any contortion twists. Is flexibility everything? Or, is having a balanced, all-round approach in practicing Yog mean something too?
There is so much more in Yog than just flexibility. If you Google the definition of Yog it means to ‘yolk’, ‘harness’, or ‘unite’ the mind, body and emotions at a conscious level. What we do is merely the tip of the iceberg, and even in this tip, flexibility is a mere component. We need to pay more attention to aspects like mobility, control and fluidity in both sides of the body equally. Why is it that we’re more comfortable with our right leg more than the left one? We should be able to perform any action with any side of our body with the same ease. This is nothing but muscular conditioning, functioning and breath balancing. And by any side, it doesn’t just mean doing the same action with the opposite limb; like boarding your scooter by swinging that same leg which is somehow just more comfortable. The term ‘using both sides equally’ also means breathing evenly from both nostrils, and so much more.
The approach we need to do is to inculcate Yog in our daily lives. Seemingly simple habits can be conditioned and we have a choice to make them better. These habits collectively impact our longevity. Take for example, the way you bend down to pick something up, or the amount of time you sit on a chair. Now, would flexibility be important here? Or, would those tightened hamstrings, and deep glutes muscles which will impact your lower back in the long term need more attention?
If you glance at the Bhagwad Gita’s enlightening lines in Chapter 2, at verse 48:
|| सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ||
This means, that siddhi-asiddhyo that is, life’s successes as well as failures, both should be embraced equally. Accepting all circumstances with serenity and maintaining a balance then is what Krishna terms as ‘Yog’. If we are sailing in the ocean in a boat, it is natural to expect waves to shake the boat. If we get disturbed each time a wave rocks the boat, our miseries would be endless. Just as we wade through the ocean of life, all kinds of waves are thrown at us. If we learn to accept them, then that is true Yog.