‘What’s in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.’
This common Shakespearean quote, alludes to one of the spiritual laws of yoga, the Law of Pure Potentiality. The Law of Pure Potentiality says that our essential nature is pure consciousness, the infinite source of everything that exists in the physical world, and beyond.
Thus, the practice of yoga often focuses on finding your core, your centre, your true, ego-less self. That sweet smell that goes beyond the name.
Now, by virtue of being a physical being surrounded by other physical beings, we are used to perceive ourselves and the world around us through the ego eyes. Through the prism of external comparisons and factors — I am a woman, a psychologist, a yoga teacher, a daughter, a friend.
But the statement, ‘I am’, can be a dangerous one.
What if I tell myself, ‘I am unable to do this or that; or I am too much or not enough of something to do what I want’. What if I tell myself, ‘I am unworthy of success, love, peace’? Whether consciously or unconsciously.
An ego-driven identity, defined by the external categories, puts a limit on who we can be and what we can experience in this world.
It makes us search for and ascribe our self-worth to factors outside of us — may that be jobs, achievements, relationships.
Through the statement ‘I am’, we often become one with our thoughts, emotions, and changing identities. We say, ‘I am angry’, ‘I am sad’, instead of acknowledging that anger and sadness are only fleeting emotions that will pass and that we have resources too withstand.
‘Who am I’ isn’t found in changing circumstances.
Our self-worth or identity, in the pure sense, aren’t found in our jobs, achievements, and relationships — though of course when our jobs, achievements, and relationships go well, they can fill us in with positive feelings.
Who we really are is what never changes within us. If you look back at all different stages of your life, you’ll come to realise that the experiencer — the unchanging you — has always been there, among changing circumstances.
Our search for miraculous experiences and relationships isn’t about searching for anything outside of ourselves. It’s about discovering the pure potentiality and love that’s already within us, and expressing it in the world. Only then, when we find that potential to give to others, others will be able to reciprocate.
To go back to Shakespeare, it’s about appreciating and sharing that sweet smell within us that is oblivious to the name.
Yoga provides a perfect opportunity to re-connect with our core, through poses and mindset.
The moment you step on the mat, you have an opportunity to make each practice your own — not look at what others do in the room, do what feels good for your, and be your own teacher, listening to your body at all times. For every pose, there are at least a few available variations, from which you can choose depending on how you feel on the day.
There’s no right and wrong in yoga, there’s just practice; and each practice gives you a chance to reconnect with your core.