Un-Learning with Un-Rules (3:43 audio)

Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, “and what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”

I have grown very tired of playing by myself in Wonderland. I went looking into the adventures of other people’s home yoga practice programs, but they all had instructions and directions. With each one, I end up asking myself, “what is the use of a home practice to look inside myself when they all had rules?” 

Do this. Don’t do that. Do it this way. Don’t do it that way. Do this after that, but don’t do that after this. Change.

Yoga practice, especially in studios and with teachers, can feel like a complex process with a zillion little rules to remember and apply, dozens of them for each pose. Add on top of that a vast library of sutras including complex teachings such as the yamas and niyamas, and yoga becomes something too overwhelming to even try in the first place

So, as your not-white-rabbit, I hand you this key to your wonderland. The key fits when you throw away all the rules, drop what you think you may know, and un-learn what you have been taught. The only rules in wonderland is that there are no rules!

The very nature of a world without rules means that there isn’t any application process, or pre-requisite list, or proof of mastery of skills you must provide to gain entry. The only requirement is that you believe. Believe in the magic. Believe in your imagination. Believe in yourself and your ability to make things up as you go along. And the way to believe is the simplest and hardest part of the whole venture. It’s simply getting on your mat and doing a stretch, and taking a breath, and another breath, and maybe another stretch. That’s it. Even if you have never ever done a single yoga pose in your life before, you can get into wonderland if you believe you can do a breath and do a stretch. But, that stretch has to be the way YOU make it up to be, not how any White Rabbit has ever said it should be. In wonderland, you are not allowed to should on yourself, because shoulding on yourself is the quickest one way ticket back to the world of darkened White Rabbit tunnels. 

I tell you this because when I look at the running-backwards-timepiece that I smashed long ago, it’s hindsight time-keeping tell me that I wasted a lot of wonderland play time by pounding on that door begging for the rulebook to show me how to get through. 

When I finally did get through the tiny door, I did it by creating my own rule-book, Actually, it’s an un-rule book. These un-rules are five things I had to un-learn about myself and my approach to yoga and life. They are five feathers I had to pluck out of my hat and leave to be trampled on in the rabbit holes. In actuality, they are rather opposite of what you might expect.

I gotta be honest with you, I’ve broken every single one of them many times, because, well, I forget, or I get lazy, or that day I just don’t seem to care. That’s called being human. And every time I forget, the Red Queen of Hearts threatens to decapitate my ego-head like a dandelion.

What RULES in your life have limited your imagination? Share in the comments below.

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