To do yoga be selfish!

June 18 2019 | Yoga Philosophy

Yoga needs more than just doing.

This may seem blindingly obvious. Yoga isn’t easy: it requires conscious application and dedication: not to mention hard work, sweat and a certain amount of financial capital. So why would you do all of that just to do yoga?

Chances are you wouldn’t! You’re likely to have started because you were curious. Maybe friends told you how good it was, or you did your homework. Maybe you are following in the footsteps of someone famous. Or maybe you just fancied giving yoga a go. They’re all terrific reasons for starting. But are they good enough in themselves.

You have to have a purpose for doing yoga

Most of the time that purpose will be selfish. Not because selfishness is a good thing in itself – or something to aspire to. The unsavoury truth is that, however we cushion it, we need to be selfish in order to survive. And yoga is one of the best survival strategies on the planet.

The happy irony of yoga

Yoga keeps you sane, fit and well. But don’t do it for some worthy cause. Be selfish and honest about it. Do it for you.

Here’s the irony. Then you become less selfish, more able to be yourself and inclined to be less, not more selfish.

Yoga and rearing children

I remember reading a book about how children develop. One of the most important things for children is for them to see that life is not all about them. To have parents who recognise the importance of being what I would call “healthily selfish” is a stroke of luck for the child. In other words, they realise they have to set boundaries and space for themselves just as their parents have done.

Noe: let’s not take this out of context. Of course a child’s welfare comes first. Just don’t be naive about it. There will always be an ulterior, less noble reason for being selfish. But that does not make your behaviour wrong. Quite the contrary: it often makes it right.

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