When was the last time everything felt absolutely perfect? Think back to a moment in your life when things felt just right, a time when there was nothing more you needed to do, know, be or change. You felt complete. Maybe you’ve experienced this when you were holding a child or cuddling your puppy. Perhaps you felt that way when watching the sun set over the ocean or during a laugh attack with your best friend or while holding the one you love. That fullness or sense of satisfaction, that moment of perfection was a fleeting glimpse of the core reality of who you really are.
There is a beautiful word and key teaching in the yoga tradition called purna. Purna means full, whole or complete. Yoga teaches that our intrinsic nature is already whole. This means there is absolutely nothing wrong with you! This means that despite the pain and heartbreak and fears you may be experiencing, your core essence is whole and perfect. Already. As you are, exactly who you are, within you lies perfection. Sit with that idea for a minute.
I know what you are thinking! “Ha! Yeah right! I am far from perfect! I need to lose 15 lbs. and stop fighting with my boyfriend. I ate an entire pizza last night and feel terrible plus I am depressed half the time and have no idea what I want to do with my life. I see new wrinkles around my eyes every morning and cellulite on my thighs! Where the heck did that come from anyway? Perfect? I am far from it. I don’t have enough money or friends, I hate my apartment and I don’t even have a romantic partner! Whole? Complete? What a joke.”
I know how you feel because sometimes I feel that way too. Here is the thing: we are Divine beings having a human experience which means that most of the time, we feel more broken than whole. That’s part of our humanity. But yoga is an invitation to open to more than our humanity. It is an invitation to collect all the pieces of yourself that you’ve neglected, denied, or given away and put yourself back together again, reclaiming your wholeness.
When your boyfriend dumps you or when your best friend moves away, when you don’t get that job you’ve been dreaming of, or when you lose a loved one, it does not detract from or diminish the magnificence of who you really are. Wholeness is your nature and the yogic path is a way to remember that.
One of the objections people often have with the idea of “purna” and perfection is that they think if we are already so “perfect” then there is nothing left to do and therefore we can become complacent and not take any positive action in the world. But that’s not how it works at all… This wholeness expands.
Anyone with pets or children (sorry to lump them together) might relate to this one. 6 months after I got married, my husband and I got a dog. Mr. Jones, our little black Whippet. The night we went to pick up Mr. Jones I cried and cried. You see I already had a cat, Virginia, who I loved very much. She was living with my sister in Virginia (yes, Virginia the cat was living in Virginia the state. All by strange coincidence) because moving her to Brazil seemed rather complicated at the time. I did not want to get a dog, my heart already felt full with my love for Virginia. But once Mr. Jones moved in, my heart exploded with more love than I knew was possible! It did not diminish my love for Virginia; my full heart grew even fuller. A couple years later we decided to get Mr. Jones a buddy and I experienced the same fear. Our little family of 3 was already so perfect – did we really need another dog? But then Jorginho (you can call him Jorge for short) came to live with us and once again, the fullness of my love expanded. You see, purna is already full, already perfect and yet…. It keeps on expanding.
During your yoga practice this week – or while doing whatever physical activity you do – I urge you to engage in your activity not as some type of “self-improvement” project or to fix yourself. Rather, use the practice to uncover the layers of doubt, fear, and shame that prevent us from the experience of our complete, full, whole selves. You see, as we simply move our bodies and breathe deeply, we shift our physical and mental energy and somehow start to feel better. What once felt unbearable is seen in a new light. What felt small or broken feels suddenly connected to something bigger. We can embrace the heartaches and tribulations of life knowing that no one and nothing can diminish who and what we are.
I am super passionate about the deeper teachings of yoga and how to apply them to our modern lives. Very soon I will be revealing a brand new program I have created to help you experience more meaning on the mat and learn how to apply yogic teachings to your everyday life. You can participate in this online program from anywhere in the world! If your practice feels dry or a little meaningless and you are looking for some juicy inspiration, then please sign up here to learn about this course as the details become available. There is no obligation! Just sign up here and you will be the first to know about my brand new program Finding More On the Mat.