We are more than just the sum of our parts.
I’ve just finished reading a book called Jivamukti Yoga by Sharon Gannon and David Life. It’s about spirituality in yoga, and the importance of recognizing that we are more than just individual beings—we’re a part of something bigger. As individual beings, we make the world whole.
The word yoga means “union.” Many times this is translated into the union of body and mind, which is certainly an essential part of yoga, but it also means the unifying of other things, such as breath and energy, hard and soft, and soul and body. All of these unions show us that we are not separated from opposites, or different body parts, or even that our bodies and minds are separate—instead, they show us that all of those things make up the whole, complete human beings that we are. Have you ever felt two emotions at once? The discordant, jarring sensation of feeling joyous and melancholy at the same time is more common than you might think. This is why we have emotions like bittersweet—opposites are a part of life, and a part of the circle that makes up you.
We might think that opposites separate, but in fact they bring us together. Just as a magnet is attracted to its opposite pull, we need the discordant harmonies of joy and sadness, anger and despair, contentment and nostalgia, and so much more to find balance in the body. This balance is what makes us complete, what pulls us all together. So the next time you feel a swirl of different emotions, or fall in love with someone fundamentally different than you, or watch how much you’ve changed in the past five years, know that all of that is what makes us unified—body, mind, and spirit. These things unify the pieces of our own selves as well as unify us to the people in our lives.
To help feel this in your body, here’s a flow for you!
Notice, as you flow through the poses, the swirl of emotions in your body. Breathe in those that you need, and breathe out those you don’t. And then when you finish, notice if your body feels a little more unified—a little more put together. You are more than just the sum of your parts; you are a unified being.