(“Virtù e Brama”, picture by Cunene)
During my path of choice into the discover of myself and the world through different eyes, I chose yoga. I ended up in a great yoga studio in Amsterdam, where practice is sacred and teachers are literally the best I have ever had. I tried a bit of everything, both meditation and various kind of yoga, but I ended up sticking to what made me feel better: Ashtanga Led and Vinyasa.
When you attend classes at such a studio, you get something completely different than the gym experience. The atmosphere, the props, the exercises, all that is around your practice is different. Emotionally, it has a greater impact. Physically, it often is better because it is not generic, but you go for what you like the most, in my case, the styles I chose were pretty intense, but you can go, for example, for Yin Yang that requires way less physical effort.
This said, I did meditation in my life before (this is for another post), and some yoga as well, but this was my very first time with somebody competent teaching me new asanas (positions) and keeping an eye on my execution and flow. Also, it was the first time I did the practice for something other than just workout. I learnt that yoga is much more than I have always thought, or even did, in my room.
Yoga is widely used for religions and spirituality, but it is not a religion itself. Also, when you attend a yoga studio you are not required to have certain beliefs, and you are not doing anything “exotic” and weird, the awareness comes naturally.
So I started doing some extra research, by myself. It is an endless discovery. I still feel I am at the tip of the iceberg, and no wonder why. Yoga comes from a different culture, and a different culture has a different take on life than my own. So reading “how to deal” with some things, on how certain things are considered, helps me widen my views and make my mind even more open.
Among all these new things I am learning, there is one that sort of answered a big portion of my questions. It is called “Upeksha”, better translated as “Equanimity”.
This great post explains it very well and in detail, yet without being boring or too long. I advice you to read this because I kind of just explain the concept here, but my post is just a teaser. It’s up to you to do your research, and know more. I point the finger to the direction I found that has been good for me and to the things I like, but I cannot build up for you.
So, what is “Upeksha”, or “Equanimity”?
Some of us do not want to read news because all the injustice in the world makes us feel bad. The injustice stresses us out a lot, and we are overwhelmed by that, and this breaks our balance.
Upeksha is a “state of even-minded openness that allows for a balanced, clear response to all situations, rather than a response borne of reactivity or emotion”. It means that we are still moved by injustice, but our balance and our inner serenity is not disturbed. We are able to detach the two and to cultivate our balance, which is very important.
It is not indifference, it is not neutrality, it is not lack of care. It is a better management of all the things. If we do not manage it well, the injustice, even if not directed towards us, will destroy our balance because of our overwhelming emotional response. We cannot fight the injustice in a whole and for sure not in the blink of an eye, so our energies must go into a better direction. We are not indifferent to the suffering, but we are aware we cannot save the world. We want to make it better (and we do in any possible way), but in order to be able to do it, we must learn to push away the negative feelings and to cherish the positive feelings.
Only a balanced heart can give the good response. We remain connected to others and are able to think free of negativity.
Of course, again, it is better explained here and if you are a bit curious, you might want to learn what it means to “detach” in yoga and meditation practice.
Oh and yes: it does not happen overnight. You need to practise and perfection what you are doing every day. Trying to become a better person, or even simply trying to feel better, requires everyday effort. Good luck!