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Unformatted text preview: Why Yoga? The first time I saw someone practicing yoga I had mixed feelings. On the one hand I was highly attracted, there being something profoundly "right" about what I was seeing; on the other hand there was a mysterious, exotic, and ancient air about it that made me nervous. I had never seen anything like it before. It seemed powerful, almost bizarre. The man I was watching obviously knew what he was doing, and he seemed to have access to a hidden reservoir of energy. Questions like "Why in the world?" and "What for?" raced through my mind. Reactions like "So what," "crazy," and "fanatic" filtered through, and yet I was deeply impressed. I wanted to know how twisting and bending your body could have anything remotely to do with God, life, meaning, or happiness. What was yoga all about? What relationship could it possibly have with anything? With my life, my perceived problems, global issues, despair, hopelessness, the alleviation of suffering, making a difference, enlightenment ... ? And like many things in life, we can never know in advance the full impact something is going to have on us. Reasons for our initial involvement may pale and lose importance as we move deeper. We change and learn, often in unexpected ways. The simple perspective I have come up with, through all the years and thousands of hours of practicing yoga and meditation since that first exposure, is that yoga makes you feel good. It's relaxing. It's energizing. It's strengthening. You feel better at the end of a session than before you began, and life runs more smoothly when you maintain a consistent discipline than when you don't. Yoga enhances your experience of life. It changes your perspective. You thereby find yourself spontaneously embracing a larger, more accurate conception of who you are, how life works, and what God is. You start seeing things differently, with less distortion - which results in more peace of mind, better health, more enthusiasm for life, and an ever-growing authentic sense of inner well-being. As you practice yoga and meditation regularly, this subtle sense of feeling good gradually becomes so pervasive, so natural and genuine, so much a part of you that it carries over into the whole of your life. And in doing so it helps clarify your deepest longings, motivations, and aspirations, thereby restoring optimism, hope, meaning, and purpose to life. This transition will be smooth and easy much of the time (even unnoticed) because it's so natural, but some of the time it may not be smooth or easy. It may be damn hard and painful. But this is only because growth hurts when you resist change, and most of us have an inclination to resist change in an attempt to remain comfortable by staying the same. But life is change. Change happens, especially when you're involved in a powerful transformative process such as yoga. You grow. You can't not change. That's just the way it is. It's how things work. Therefore, in order to stay comfortable as you grow, you must flow with the changes and not attempt to remain the same...
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- Spring '08