“Letting go is the hardest asana.” Anonymous
Recently I was asked why I do yoga. The obvious reasons came to mind: it keeps me strong and flexible. It’s challenging, relaxing, and anything else you need it to be. It quenches my thirst for philosophy, language, anatomy, and spirituality. But in reeling off those reasons, I realized none of them capture the real essence of what brings me to the mat, day after day. There are many ways to get strong, toned, and flexible and many paths of philosophy and spirituality to follow. Yet here I am, just as passionate about yoga now as I was when I started over a decade ago. Strength and flexibility are palpable, and philosophy is intellectual. But the other, the spirituality, this is the modus operandi for me.
Sacred texts on yoga say that it brings us closer to our higher self, to super consciousness, or to God, if you will; and these are admirable intentions. But the real reason I get on my mat every single day is that it's my coping mechanism. It makes the difficult days, the challenging times, the ups and downs of life—both today’s and those yet to come—more manageable.
Exactly why this is so, I can’t say. It just does. As an experiential practice, you’ll have a better understanding of what I mean if you give it a go yourself. Here are some sequences you can try from home.