Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.
My husband and I moved from Santa Monica to New York City last year in the middle of winter time. For those of you who are wondering, all of the myths about Santa Monica are true. Moving to NYC in the middle of winter provided a stark contrast to our carefree California days. We went fairly suddenly from sunshine and warmth to gray and chilly weather. I remember never wanting to leave our apartment and complaining about having to check the weather to the friends we left behind in LA. Little did we know what our second winter would have in store for us...
I have been joking to my husband that if we had moved to New York during these winter conditions, I would have immediately demanded that we turn around for the land of sunshine. However, since we've had about a year to acclimate to life without a car, I've found myself continuing my life under polar vortex conditions with little disturbance. I discovered that I am actually capable of waking up at 5:15am to teach in 10 degree weather and even have fun during class! Don't get me wrong--I am definitely grumbling about the weather along with everyone else. But, I have surpassed the expectations of a miserable life that I had for myself a year ago.
It turns out that humans are adaptable and resilient. Whether it is in the face of giant snowstorms, or other times of difficulty, we are capable of survival and even finding joy. B.K.S. Iyengar said, "Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured." Most of us come to yoga from the physical standpoint, to alter something about the nature of our bodies. We want to "cure" our tight hamstrings or weakness in our core. However, we stay with yoga because we are challenged mentally as well. We learn to "endure" through the long holds in challenging postures while calming our minds, or accept the limitations of our bodies even when we wish we didn't have them.
Practicing yoga is not always fun, calm, and peaceful. On the contrary, we are often confronted with our expectations (about our body or even about the ability to remain calm) and our failure to meet them. However, we are able to practice how to accept these failures in a safe environment--lessons that that we can hopefully take with us into the "real world." We learn that we can make it through the 5 minute Warrior 2 pose, and that we can even feel alive and free in our bodies during the period of suffering. We also learn that if we can't make it through the 5 minute Warrior 2, that we will still feel stronger in our legs because of our efforts, and can try again on the other leg or in our next class.
And thus, the title of this post. Because right now, it really does feel like Spring might never come to NYC. But, I can remind myself that the situation is impermanent and I am having a grand ole' time in the city regardless.*