In crossing the threshold into my 45th year of embodiment, I am grateful for new insights… Every birthday you celebrate adds another layer of experience that surrounds you. You collect these yearly concentric circles like an encasement of knowledge. In yoga, there are similar lampshade-like sheaths of awareness called “koshas.” They range from the most outer physical coat to the most sagacious inner one of intuition. Inside all of them is your highest and brightest self. However, if you stay mainly in one kosha or only identify with one covering as “you,” then you limit yourself.
If you have an injury or a health issue, you can start to recognize yourself as your ailment. Do you find yourself saying, “I am so inflexible that I can’t even touch my toes”? Do you complain about always being tired or too busy? Do you resign yourself to the fact that you are and will always be stubborn? These declarations constrict the possibility of transformation or the thrill of breaking your own rules.
Boundary is not the issue at hand. Partitions are not bad per se. Screening is often needed to measure whether another person has earned his/her access inside. The real predicament is whether the barriers are ultimately confining and compounding or permeable and expansive. Are these protective layers of armor meant to keep others out or to keep you safe inside?
Regardless of purpose, each relationship you choose helps you grow. It’s in connection with others that you learn more about yourself. The rub of conflict can propel you to develop understanding, and to evolve. You cannot undo the past. There are no do-overs in life. But you have the opportunity to recursively begin anew in every moment.
Yoga invites you to hit the reset button every time you step onto the mat. The more familiar you become with your outermost physical existence, the more curious you are in exploring the subtle body. The skillful yogin traverses all sheaths of consciousness like porous walls and to fluently straddle the various layers of self…from outside in and inside out. If you have been regrouping in your fort, I urge you to eventually come out and play in the world.
This practice promises all sorts of adventures with your many selves, within limits and beyond.