What does it mean to “start just where you are”?
The beautiful thing about yoga is that we all start our journey in the exact same place – right where we are. No two journeys are identical, and yet they are all impeccably perfect!
It took me a long time to understand the meaning of “begin where you are”. Of course I will begin where I am – where else would I begin? But the deeper meaning of that phrase suggests gently that we begin where we are because that is precisely where we are supposed to be in that moment. In other words, it is always the right time to begin, because you are always right where you are supposed to be.
This concept of being precisely where you are meant to be in any given time is so freeing! No longer do we have to analyze each waking moment, wondering if we have taken all the right turns on the path of life; no longer do we have to wonder if we have made it far enough on our journey. We can rest assured that we are just where we are supposed to be and that the only thing determining the direction of the path ahead is our own self.
This world we live in is so focused on outcome; we are obsessed with achievement. Everywhere you look someone is telling you, screaming at you, all of your deficiencies. You’re too fat, too uneducated, too skinny, too quiet, too loud, too greedy, too this, too that, too blah blah blah…And they want to teach you how you can be better, how you can improve upon these achilles heels of yours. Of course there must be a solution, – some way we can fix you!
But alas, you are not broken – you are just you! And that is exactly who you should be.
Since there really is no prescribed path in yoga, no perfect way to get from point A to point B (In fact I would argue that there is no point B) then we are all perfect yogis just following our own individual paths. This practice of yoga – the asana practice, the pranayama practice, and the meditative practice – is not a means to an end, but rather a means to improving the journey! It is a way to more consciously and thoroughly live and appreciate the world around you; it’s a way to improve your experience as you move through the world carving out your own personal path.
The yogic journey is simple:
Start where you are, and end where you end.