Bhavana

Your life is a story. What do you want its moral to be?

With that deep thought-provoking question, we begin to see the duality of purpose our lives take on.

The Bhāvanā of a yoga class is typically defined as an intention that you set for yourself at the beginning of class. The theory is that this intention gives you a point of focus when your mind begins to wander. It’s a trigger to pull you back into the physical practice. Often, we teachers will weave our own Bhāvanā into a class, winding the series of postures in a way that allows us to return to the same theme.

Great examples are: focus on postures that open a particular chakra, increase a particular mood, or mimic a particular season / change of season.

Whatever the Bhāvanā is, this is what unites the physical and spiritual roles of the practice of yoga.

Class parallels life

Many teachers will construct a class as if it were a story. The focus is on the end, the Bhāvanā, the moral. Postures flow into one another, leading to stories or focus, and finally in sukhasana, at the end, our instructor puts all of the pieces together in a thought or lesson to take with us through our day.

In the same way, we define our actions through this life with a goal – with an intention on what the lesson will be at the end. For our life to have purpose, we choose a set of actions that allow us to experience something meaningful, and let our lives serve as an example of the effects of these actions – or a moral, a Bhāvanā, a purpose.

Duality

Sounds deep, huh? Easy too! Just let your actions be dictated by that “moral of the story of your life.”

I know what you’re thinking – and it’s really OK. That’s the duality.

Life cannot be lived toward a moral if one doesn’t know what that moral is. The second profound piece to life is figuring out what that moral is supposed to be. Finding your purpose.

The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why. -M. Twain

The whole path cannot be seen

Often, we can look at a journey like a car driving at night. You can only see to the edge of the headlights, yet the road is still out there. You have faith that the road is there. It may turn or have a detour you don’t know about, but the road will be there when the lights get to it.

Interestingly enough, some instructors do not plan their Bhāvanā. They start with a few postures and move on to others when it feels right. The students or the mood of the class dictates the next posture. Somewhere in the middle of the class, the instructor will notice a thread that is running through.

Yeah – some of our lives are like that, too. We have a good idea, chase it, learn from it, then move on to the next, not entirely sure what our great purpose is supposed to be. But, rest assured, like our yoga instructor, somewhere in the middle, we’ll figure it out.

It will have no greater or less meaning than had we known it from the beginning.

And sometimes, we just make a whole bunch of stuff up. That gets you through the confusing times.

Working my way through it,

Digital Nomad Stu
Photo by Thalita Carvalho ϟ

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