So…you want a perfect body…
Don’t we all!
In fact, if you practice yoga correctly (even with some other teacher 🤨 ), you will get a perfect body.
How can I make such a bold promise?
Because the practice of yoga is far, far more about your mental state than your physical state. In fact, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (the yoga “bible”) revolves completely around one basic concept. And it has nothing to do with the asanas.
The entire practice of yoga has one goal: to quiet the mind.
It is said that if you can master just the second sutra, “Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha,” you don’t even need the rest of the book. I say “just” pretty lightly. This sutra says you need to quiet the modifications/fluctuations of the mind. But the mind can truly be an unruly beast!
As they say in the Old Country, “what does this have to do with the price of rice in China?” In other words, what is the possible connection between quieting your mind and getting your perfect body?
I bet you think I am going to say that when you discipline your mind, you will eat better, exercise harder, sleep more, drink less, and generally develop healthier habits.
But that’s not what I’m going to say.
The actual reason that quieting your mind creates a perfect body is that a quiet mind realizes that your body is already perfect.
You may have been convinced sometime, somehow, somewhere along the way that a perfect body means your stomach has to be flatter, your legs longer, your skin firmer, your chest bigger, or any number of other traits that seem to define a certain ideal.
Yoga says otherwise.
When you honestly and truly commit yourself to your practice, in mind, body, and spirit, you learn to accept that everything is not only exactly as it should be, but that everything is a blessing.
You think your arms are too flabby? Try living without arms.
You think your legs are too weak? Try living without legs.
You think your body is to incapable? Try paralysis.
I don’t mean to sound flip. But think about it. You have more miracles going on in your body this very second than you could possibly begin to count in an entire lifetime.
Your heart beats! Incredible!
Your lungs breathe! Amazing!
Your mind thinks! Phenomenal!
Try acknowledging all your organs and systems and parts. I mean, you can’t. How can you give gratitude to every cell of your body that mindbogglingly coordinates with every other cell to create that unbelievably perfect body that is already yours, that carries you through your life mission, and makes all things in this earthly existence possible?
You want a perfect body? First, you need to develop a perfect mindset.
Aparigraha, appreciation for what is yours.
Santosa, contentment with things exactly as they are.
And Ishvara Pranidhana, submission to a Higher Power and accepting that everything–yes, even your body–is exactly as it should be.