While staying in Nepal, our guide frequently encouraged us to hire a cab to get around during our daily excursions. We frequently complied with his request, as it was quick and provided work for the cab driver, but occasionally we opted to walk. Our guide reluctantly complied with our wishes, often leading us through fascinating business and residential areas. We were thrilled to watch the locals going about their daily lives and slow down to really see Nepali life. Our guide was not impressed with these decisions, so we finally asked why he didn't like to walk. "Flat is boring" was his reply. Makes sense, the man does make his living as a trekking guide. Flat walking did not offer panoramic views or cardiovascular challenge. In cardiology, flat line refers to being dead and without a pulse. Time to get off the flat line.
Moderate challenges did reward us with breathtaking views and new experiences. By stepping out of our comfort zone and confronting slippery paths, leeches, and questionable roads, we were rewarded with the experience of a lifetime. It is often like that in yoga as well. When you are willing to step just beyond your comfort zone, amazing things can happen.
In practice and in life, you need to experience both the flat lines and the uphill battles. You need a moment to pause and reflect, and a moment to power through a challenge. This is why there is more than one style of yoga. We can't spend our entire practice resting in shavasana or sitting in meditation, but we can't spend the entire time giving 100% physical effort either.
The challenge is to be happy with whatever life is throwing at you. Can you enjoy that flat and easy path as well as the uphill battle? Can you balance the rest and the work? Try finding the balance between the sthira (strength and steadiness) and sukha (ease, relaxation, joy). This is our challenge, and it is the work of a lifetime.
Namaste - Beth