I pondered this question the other day in class and it led me to some insightful places. At first, the answer seems fairly straightforward; that you would find yoga and not the other way around. Humans are creatures with free will. Yoga is not a thinking entity that actively selects its practitioners. That would be ridiculous right?
Yoga is a challenging endeavor. It can be somewhat intimidating to newcomers because it takes a great deal of nerve and volition for an individual to walk into class that first time. I remember well the start of my initial class and the nerves I felt. I had observed Yoga classes from afar for months before I worked up the courage to try it myself. Eventually, I decided to put aside my fear and apprehension and try it. At first it felt awkward and uncomfortable while being surrounded by strangers who made it look easy. But then I felt refreshed, connected, and inspired. It was an independent and conscious choice to walk into my first practice; right?
Perhaps not. Maybe there was a larger force at work that day that I was unaware of. I began to think of the confluence of events that first led me to practice Yoga. I realized that perhaps my decision was just one part of an interrelated Universe. Maybe I was just one player in a collective, evolving movement of energy that started in the 2nd Century B.C. and had progressed until the present day.
I don’t know how or why this practice that began with Hindu sages in ancient India has survived to this day. I don’t have any answers as far as why it has experienced a rebirth over the last few decades, or why California seems to be at its epicenter. Yet, I have somehow found myself at the nexus of these strange forces of space and time. By virtue of this position, I have been exposed to something that has changed my life in fundamental ways. While it is true that I made the conscious decision to walk into class that first day, the unique circumstances that afforded me that opportunity are rooted in a tradition that stretches back thousands of years and is the collective effort of millions of people. Did I find yoga…..or did it find me?