What does your soul want from your life? The soul is mucky and deep and dark. It likes mess and passion and it gives that ‘oomph’ in life. My soul likes to dance in my pyjamas, sing too loud and play.
Yoga focuses a lot on the spirit. Transcending the mucky human experience to be pure and perfect and saintly. Look at a tree. The branches are stretching away from the earth towards the heavens in the light. We sometimes forget the equally majestic roots in the earth, grounded and vital. The spirit is the branches, the soul is the roots.
The branches may be pretty but the roots are equally as important or the tree hasn’t got any real substance. You need both equally.
I’m reading a great book about Tantra by Osho. Tantra has earned a bad reputation. I hate to disappoint you but it is not all about sex. Tantra teaches you to be ‘loose and natural’, do what you want but be conscious while you do it. Go with the flow of life. Osho tells us that sin is like salt, you need a little or else you will be bland and shallow in your santlihood. In Alan Watts’ words, everyone has an ‘element of rascality’ and it should not be suppressed. Forget trying to be good listen to your animalistic soul.
Of course it is hard to get the right balance. People can be all soul and no spirit and that’s what you see in heart-breakingly beautiful artists. They keep digging down into the mud pouring their raw findings into music or onto a canvas but without any spirit they find themselves at the risk of drowning.
Then there’s those with all spirit no soul, very common to the yoga scene. These spiritual junkies say no a lot in fear of being tainted, no to temptation, no to wildness, no to passion.
So I ask you to try embrace both spirit and soul. For every meditation you do dance in your underwear like a wild thing. It is all about balance and chances are you will spend your life seesawing as your roots grow deeper and branches reach higher – and that my friends is the rollercoaster of life.
When it comes to yoga we can get focused on being picture perfect. I am trying to bring a more soulful approach to my yoga practice where I move fluidly, celebrating my body in a delicious mixture of stretching, dance and strength. It is empowering. It isn’t perfect. It is hard to teach such a fluid style (but I’m working on it) so I encourage you to try it at home. Sit on your mat/floor and just start to move – what happens? If you want to sigh then sigh, if you want to start drumming your chest like a crazed ape then DO IT!
Life is too serious. Have fun and celebrate your body and this short life time you share with it. Life isn’t about transcending humanity it is about experiencing and accepting our human condition. We are perfect in our imperfections. There is a wonderful word in Japanese called ‘wabi-sabi’ which translates as ‘a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycles of growth and decay’. Life is messy and challenging but take a step back and wow, isn’t it just beautiful?