I am always trying to be open enough in my mind to see and accept inspiration from whatever source it may come. Recently, it happened to come from an obituary of a women who lived on the other side of the country, who I have never met before, named Jane Catherine Lotter. Now, I don’t make any sort of a habit of reading obituaries, especially of people I don’t know, but there was an article online about this woman writing her own obituary. It was witty and touching, but what she wrote to her children truly inspired me.
“The obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path.”
I asked my students last week to not see limitations or challenges on their mats as obstacles, instead to embrace them as part of the journey. If Childs pose was what they needed, rather than it feeling like a consolation pose or a reaction to an obstacle, see it as the right path in that moment.
We challenged our “Asana” convention by reversing our Vinyasa in our practice. As we came from Downward Dog to Upward Dog and then to Plank we realized that the path can look many different ways. When we were in high lunge and the back leg was fatigued we lowered the knee. We weren’t pushing up against an obstacle, rather creating a new path or even better, realizing our true path and not taking a path that someone else paved.
Of course, a Yoga practice is about practicing off the mat as well. To put it simply, the Journey IS the Joy. There is always joy to be found along our path, we just have to look out for it. Childs pose may have been what you truly needed at that moment, not the avoidance of something else, rather offering joy in itself.
At times our path offers more joy than others but there is joy and inspiration in the whole journey. Even in Jane Catherine Lotter’s final days, I would imagine she found some joy in knowing her legacy would live on, that she was on her path.
Just as there is always joy, there is often the possibility that what seems like an obstacle could convince us we are not on the right path. Often times just changing the perspective…whether it’s driving a different route home or entering Upward Dog from Downward Dog, can remind us that what may seem like an obstacle is truly just part of the path. The obstacles in the path, are not obstacles, they ARE the path. The Journey is the joy. Namaste.