Yoga and humility
How our yoga practice can help us to live a more authentic and down-to-earth life, one rich with humility. By Mellara Gold
In a world filled with inequality, exploitation, and injustice it’s hard to imagine being humble on the top of our list as a collective.
If our ancestors were alive today perhaps they might have this wish for us. A simple yet powerful intention of accessing our most humble selves — and if practiced with heart and soul — could change everything.
Having a consistent yoga practice we are asked to look into the very mundane of our lives and ‘become the sacred’ — in the ordinary of folding clothes, getting legs up the wall for a few minutes (viparita karani), or cooking a healthy meal for ourselves and loved ones.
In being humble, we enter into a state of service and it becomes an extraordinary experience.
And it is being of service to humanity that is at the heart of what yoga is really all about.
When we practice yoga, whether we are on or off of the mat, we are essentially remembering who we are. Our pure human kindness radiates and a humble heart takes centre stage. The more we can give back and nurture ourselves throughout our day, and not just on the mat — that’s what it’s all about.
Our new mantra becomes: ‘All of life is a yoga class’.
Time of change
To be alive right now is an extraordinary time.
Humanity feels to be at the precipice of a very different relationship to all that is.
From home to community, to community and back home again, our understanding of life is beginning to be viewed through quite a different lens. This is the transformation of us and our evolution as a collective.
I’m sure we might agree that life as we have known it to be is not a reliable place to dwell or take refuge. It never was, but perhaps we are noticing it more than we ever have. The house of cards is falling, and we have much work to do to ensure that we create a happy, safe and more inclusive planet for all.
And as Mother Nature continues to give all her children enough for their needs, may we listen to her as we are individually guided in becoming a more conscious species.
So what does this mean? What changes are you sensing for yourself and your family? What are you ready to let go of? And what is worth holding on to? And how can we share our life in a more conscious way that directly helps humanity?
These questions are important to ask ourselves even if the answers are not readily available. It is in the inquiring where we have the opportunity to remember what matters most.
Have you ever felt afraid to share how you really feel because you think you might be judged if you gave an honest and humble answer? I might go out on a limb to say that unless you’re living in a cave the answer is probably yes.
Being open, humble and honest does not make us vulnerable to blame; and saying sorry does not imply personal guilt. As we experience a bereavement or setback, often folks will say: ‘I’m so sorry for your loss’. This feels to be a sincere expressing of empathy coming from our true nature.
How we relate to ourselves and the people in our lives directly impacts the level of happiness that we feel. Being humble requires that we trust ourselves enough to live out each day as if it were our last and, at the same time, be the change that we’d wish to see more of in the world.
This has the opportunity to take us out of our head space and dive deeper into our body’s intelligence. Our yoga practice helps us on this very journey of the heart and into a much more broader view of our life.
I’ve never felt as humble, or in the unknown, as a student in a yoga class — a deep reverence for the time being given to practice, the precious moment, and gratitude for my body to hold me in some pretty interesting and fun positions.
To move through such asanas like Warrior II requires us to not only be physically strong but at the same time inner strength is there too. Because in the not knowing — when we might shift from our Warrior II position, or transition to the other side — it means to me that may not survive the pose or transition, nor this time in history, unless we remain fiercely present while accessing our humble heart.
This is a time of deep awakening like never before as we humbly learn a new way of being and let go of what we thought we were supposed to be and do.
And as stewards of the earth may we heal the world within ourselves just one moment at a time. Be it with the breath, one mindful connection or one yoga class at a time.
May we feel great purpose in being alive during this time, and may we no longer feel the need to remain quiet, as all of our voices have tremendous impact on how we shape and co-create the world we would like to live in.
Mellara Gold E-RYT has been teaching yoga and meditation for two decades, and influenced by Hatha Yoga, Mindfulness, and Buddhism. Her radiant and inspirational teaching blends the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga with self-inquiry. She leads online and in-person workshops, retreats, and trainings and is a regular contributor to online journals and other lifestyle and spiritual magazines. Check out her teaching memoir, A Life Worth Living: A Journey of Self-Discovery Through Mindfulness, Yoga, and Living in Awareness published in 2021. And Living in Awareness: Deepening Our Daily Lives Through Prayer, Ritual, and Meditation was just published. June of 2023. Available worldwide.