Many years ago, I came to yoga with the idea that I was going to fix myself. Somehow 90 minutes at a time, I would feel relief from a continual feeling of being stressed out. The physicality of asana practice and hearing bits of positive philosophy in class would get me out of my negative thought patterns for a while. Practicing yoga was my way of “getting right” so I could get on with my life.
I thought that there was something fundamentally wrong in my wiring. Yoga was a “fix” that allowed me to function normally. My desire to feel good carried me deeper as a student, and I began to study philosophy. Through yoga scholar Douglas Brooks I heard the teachings of Dr. Gopalayer Sundarmoorthy, a South Indian professor and yoga scholar. Over the years, some of the most simple ideas have landed most powerfully in my mind.
One of these suggestions goes like this: “You are sufficient unto your own joy.”
The invitation of this little phrase is a powerful one. It suggests that you already have everything you need to feel happy and free in your life. You don’t have to get rid of any part of yourself, and you don’t have to add anything to yourself. The best thing you could be is yourself, unfolding your own fullest potential. The word PURNA in Sanskrit means fullness, wholeness, a feeling of completeness within oneself. The best part is that it’s referring to YOU! Yes, you! Many people spend their days with a low to medium grade irritation that permeates their experience and colors all of their perceptions of the world. Our yoga, which includes asana practice (poses) is to align with what is already present and working and good about ourselves.
When we feel badly about ourselves, it’s much easier to think that there is something wrong with us. “I’m just wired this way, I’m don’t have the genes to be a happy person.” Much more difficult, and a much more valuable use of time is to identify what is already working well and let that lead to solutions. It takes and a genuine sense of curiosity to look deeper to see what is very right with us. What are my gifts? What do I honestly love about myself and being alive? When we ask these questions and can answer with authentic appreciation, it aligns us with a love of life that can spill over into everything we do. Positive solutions flow abundantly from this type of thought.
So, there is nothing to fix. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with you, you just might need a tune up, a mental restructuring to positivity. Isn’t that nice to know?