It's Yoga's Fault!

By H.J. Klingman

Yoga stressed me out. Yoga made me bloated. Yoga hurts my hips. Yoga took up too much of my day. Yoga made me feel not good about myself. Yoga did this, yoga did that….. It's yoga's FAULT!! These are the thoughts that raced through my head while practicing in yoga classes over the past few months. Having maintained a very consistent practice for years, I was beginning to actually HEAR myself during the 90 minute class. Once I began hearing myself, I wanted to smack myself in the face. How could my subtle mind really be so negative, and BLAMING yoga for everything I was thinking and feeling? Well, in my shock I began to be quiet. And still. And listen more closely. And what I heard then shocked me even more: “It’s not YOGA’s fault…. YOGA didn’t do anything…. YOU did these things to yourself. You just need something/someone outside of you to blame for these things…..”  WHOA.

Ok, slow down, I thought. This is heavy. When I was first open to receiving this truth I immediately became defensive. “But… but… but…” Then I began to relax, letting go of judgement of this truth… and I began to let it be the truth, and to sit with it. During the next several weeks of yoga classes after this happened, I slowly began to allow myself to see it, both inside of the yoga room and out. I realized that it wasn't only yoga I blamed. I blamed people in my life and things happening around me all throughout the day! I blamed people for the way I felt, for my happiness or lack thereof. I blamed the yoga teacher, the heat, the food I ate, and even the postures for the pain in my body. Reflecting openly and honestly, it was my own ego that made me push into the posture incorrectly further than it was ready to go. The yoga never hurt me, I hurt me.

Then I decided to stop. JUST STOP IT, I thought. Start taking responsibility for the decisions I make, the food I eat, the way I do the posture, the way I react to the teacher, the way I choose to feel or react to my loved ones….

This has been a very difficult lesson to learn, and at times it leaves me feeling like having a downright temper tantrum. It has also empowered me on a new level that I did not know possible. I can now be responsible for the life I want to live, without making everyone and everything else around me the blame. While circumstances will ALWAYS happen, we have a CHOICE how to react to them. For years my teachers told me this, and I finally heard it. I felt it. I continue to try to apply it. It isn’t always easy, being the one that has to accept responsibility for feeling crappy, or hurting myself. Sometimes I want to just blame someone else! But, realizing this has allowed me to free the ones I love from the responsibility of making me happy. If I want to be happy, it’s up to me. If I want to be healthy, it’s up to me…. My dad always had this mantra he would repeat to me, and now I can finally hear it’s importance:

If it is to be, it’s up to me.

I can now say that "it's yoga's fault" that I am more awake, more aware, and more alive than ever. And it's up to me to remember this and continue to strive for the best life I can live.