There is an old Hindu saying, “As the mind, so the man. Bondage or liberation are in your own mind.” Meaning, nothing outside of the mind can create the feeling of bondage or liberation, only your reaction to it can do that. Within the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali goes on to explain this further with a few simple sentences, “If you feel bound, you are bound. if you feel liberated, you are liberated.” It’s as simple as that.
Being able to appreciate what is around you while holding feelings of contentment within the heart, is one goal of yoga. The flip side of this, is the hardest part of yoga practice, if you ask me. Which is, feeling content and appreciative when everything is going wrong, or we are in a “bad” situation. We too often, think the grass is greener somewhere else, we seek what we don’t have, desire what someone else does, and are left feeling miserable.
One thing that students tell me repeatedly is that their yoga practice has helped them to see the “light” within their lives. Ordinary situations seem special and new. Their relationships have that “spark” again and so on. It isn’t that those wonderful feelings ever left us, its more or less that we left them. Yoga is a path that leads us back to the realization that where we are, with whom we are, with what we are, is PERFECT. It also gives us the tools needed to feel liberated within life’s sticky and overwhelming situations. No longer do we let the situation determine how we feel, how we will react, and so forth. We are humbly in control now. Ahhhh, now that’s freedom!