The Yoga of Desire

When I was little, and I’m talking from four to six years old, I wanted desperately to become an animal—a wolf, to be specific. I would spend my days and nights working on my howl; I spent hours perfecting my “wolf gait,” which included walking on my knuckles and knees; and I was naturally gifted at my growl. I wanted nothing more than to transform myself into what I believed, in my small, developing brain, would benefit my life the most. Wolves had it all! (In my opinion.) They ran around all day being adventurous and mysterious, worrying about nothing but day-to-day concerns like food and water and deciding where to sleep for the night. To me, this was perfection. No worries? Lots of adventure? Staying out all night in the woods to watch the moon? Yeah. My dream job, right there.


Obviously, as I grew older, I came to realize that it was impossible for me to live that life exactly as my brain had imagined it. However, there were some practical things (and impractical things, to be honest) that I could do to find a wolf-esque life, filled with adventure and intrigue. I spent most of my time outside, when I wasn’t in school, climbing trees and running through backyards and fields of grass with my friends. I was nimble and lithe for a child, able to shift myself into any shape I needed for whatever game we were playing at the moment. I could shimmy up a tree almost as fast as a squirrel. Even as I grew older, my mind was more focused on finding adventure and spontaneity than it was on sitting still for studying or homework. The only time I willingly sat down and stayed inside was if I was reading—which took my mind to even more fantastical places than I could find outside.


What I desired then, and still desire now, was imagination. If I could want something badly enough, I almost believed I could get it—no matter if it was becoming a wolf or flying to Neverland or fighting with the soldiers of Achilles at Troy. Even if my body wasn’t physically there, my mind definitely was. And that created incredible adventure for me—and still does.


Within the realm of yoga, what we desire most we can achieve with the mind and body working together. As I became more aware of how my body moved as I was little, I was more able to imitate the gait of a wolf, thereby giving my imagination more creative fodder to play with. When I was reading books and discovering new places within my mind to explore, understanding my body gave me a more creatively inspiring experience—imagining myself walking through these worlds I was reading about became more real when I could feel my own body moving within my mind through each page, each scene, each expanded universe. It’s the same with yoga; when we meditate after practicing the asanas, or poses, we can hone in on the parts of our bodies that need the most awareness. We find ourselves able to feel our bodies in our minds with each new meditation, each new day, each new pose. The only limit is our minds. Find expansion in your practice. Find imagination. And use both of these tools to grasp the expanse of your mind/body connection: the more you use it, the more it grows.


Don’t be afraid to desire. To want. To grow. Figure out what you desire and then meditate on it. Work towards it. As a kid, exercising my imagination was filled with curiosity and excitement. Now, as an adult, I can find those same feelings within my yoga practice. What feelings are most abundant within you as you practice yoga? Let us know in the comments!


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