Each individual person perceives the same object in a different way, according to their own state of mind and projections. Everything is empty from its own side and appears according to how you see it.
You know what? I like yoga. In fact, I love yoga. I love practicing it, I love teaching it, overall I love the complete package. I don’t ever take it for granted that I have this privilege to do what I love.
I’m going to be upfront and say not everyone can teach yoga full-time. The big part of it is because for many people, it’s not financially feasible. I’m never going to earn what a CEO or a law firm partner earns by being a yoga teacher. Not only that, it takes certain conditions for someone being a full-time yoga teacher to be possible. If I had to send 3 kids to school, for example, it won’t be feasible.
There are things possible and almost impossible for many people based on the conditions of their lives, and often, these are the conditions we didn’t exactly earn— at least not in this lifetime— but conditions we are born into. These conditions also shape the way we view the world.
The fact that you’re practicing yoga at yoga+ means certain assumptions about your life right now can be made: You have financial security, you don’t have to worry about being hungry, you have spare time you can use in any number of ways you wish. When you walk into the practice room, your conditions give you a certain “bias” in which to view this scenario. You see the perfectly laid out mats, you decide if you want to be up front or at the back when you practice, you see the blocks as yoga props to help you, you see the padded floor as a way to protect your knees, as a means to make your fall in inversions softer. That’s what we see with the conditions we are in.
Now, if someone who’s lived in Smokey Mountain (an area where trash is thrown and the people there live as scavengers) all their lives walks into this room, yoga is likely not the first thing they would think about it. They will see clean floors, not infested with flies. They will see spaciousness, where they’re not cramped with 8 other people, when sleeping. They will the lights with switches, electricity, air conditioning, that you can turn on and off according to your comfort level.
We see different things based on our life circumstances. As the wisdom of the yoga sutra suggests, we see things not as objects are, but we see things as we are. And while seeing the yoga room differently may not cause a lot of anguish, it tends to create a lot of conflict when we see things differently with personal opinions, choice of religion, views in politics etc, and we insist that our way is the only way.
Practice today with the intention of offering it up to one person you’ve had a major disagreement with. Think of this person, their circumstances, and see the world through their eyes. So it may be the opinions remain different, but we can always choose to come from a place of understanding and empathy and compassion. So it may be that our views are still at odds with each other, but we can validate our truth without invalidating the truth of others. So it may be that we hold on to our views as the views that are reasonable to us, but we express these always with respect and with an understanding that we are projecting our own personal truth.