Liberate Yourself

Photo by Piper Winston

Photo by Piper Winston

FEBRUARY 17, 2015

Having just arrived in Costa Rica, one of my favourite places on the planet, I'm blown away by the beauty, resilience, fragility, and sheer humour of life. I love to travel, and often dream of living in various parts of the world, fantasizing about how blissful life would be if I lived in (fill in the blank) and did (fill in the blank) every day. Something about traveling to far off destinations offers the promise of new beginnings, adventure and freedom from suffering. 

But when I arrive at my destination, I'm always reminded that I bring myself with me where ever I go. True that new faces and places can offer fresh perspectives, inspiration and insight, but no matter how far we go, we always carry with us our thought habits, emotional wounds, and inner world complexities. And so does everyone else. Joy and suffering exist everywhere. 

In the same way that people travel in search of improved conditions, sometimes, people embark on this journey of yoga as on ongoing self-improvement project or to keep stress at bay. When approached from this view, we will probably feel better and may even see positive changes in our day to day life. But, we will always be chasing a goal of perfection that will ever elude us, and will never really feel fulfilled or truly know ourselves. 

Your awakening and liberation does not result from the hours you put into your yoga and meditation practice, how many workshops and retreats you attend, or how many books you've read. It's not about getting anywhere or being like anyone else.  

Yoga is not an evolution to some better state of being as much as it is a dissolving of that which prevents you from recognizing the truth that has always been right in front of you. You are free. You are made of stars and earth. You are divine and you are human. Love and joy reveal themselves when you remove what blocks your heart. 

Embark on this practice not as a task, but as a way of being present with yourself. When approached with this view, our practice serves to show us the known and unknown blocks to our freedom. Our only part in the process is to let them go. 

What do you most desire from your practices? From your daily choices? What blocks your freedom?

Chantal Russell