Many people tend to think the benefits of yoga are increased flexibility and balance. To me, this is just icing on the cake. Yoga helps me know myself more deeply than anything else I do. As William Shakespeare observed, “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man”.
More precisely, the doing of yoga isn’t what helps me know myself. I only find the knowing when I seek it. As Jesus wisely noted, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”. In other words, action is action and nothing more. The true value lies in how we approach action… any action!
A by-path for me has often been allowing action to substitute for approach. Action for action’s sake is just treading water. “At least I’m doing something”, I tell myself. Nope! Better to stop treading water and just sink. As chapter 32 says, One ought to know that it is time to stop. Knowing when to stop one can be free from danger. One danger I feel is letting a more meaningful life slip through my fingers.
Still, to paraphrase chapter 36 says, if you would stop a thing, you must first start it. By-paths are prerequisites for finding the way. Ceasing to tread water and just letting yourself sink can often mark the transition from your by-path to the way.