I recently posted on Instagram about the lotus flower and I got so much feedback from it I decided to blog about it. All of the feedback relayed that the post had been encouraging. Since encouragement is a very good thing, I want to expound on that post just a little bit. Read on for a couple of my favorite lessons we can all learn from the famous little lotus flower and how it relates to your yoga practice.
Here was the actual post from Instagram:
By far, one of my favorite lil’ sayings: No mud, no lotus.
From the mud and sludge arises what many people consider to be the world’s most beautiful flower. The lotus flower wouldn’t “be” without the mud. Books could be written on all the symbolism taken from this *one* flower (and probably are), but my favorite two aspects are:
1) The lotus is rooted in sludge, but does not get muddy. (Exist in the world without being dirtied or changed by it. Be yourself. Be a source of love and light.)
2) The lotus is always striving upward, toward the light. It keeps rising. (Keep working toward your best self. Don’t let “mud” hold you back. Rise above and be better because of the wisdom you’ve learned.)
I love reading about all the symbolism taken from this flower. Fellow lotus lovers, what’s your favorite?
That was my post.
I do want to reiterate that these two points I'm writing about are just two of the many symbolisms taken from the famous lotus. But at this point in my life, they are the two that resonate with me the most.
My first point (above) was this: The lotus is rooted in sludge, but does not get muddy. (Exist in the world without being dirtied or changed by it. Be yourself. Be a source of love and light.)
I think it's important to remember that we can be in the world but still shine in our own unique, beautiful way. We don't have to let worldly ways or things tarnish us. We don't have to get caught up in materialism or chasing the wrong things. We don't have to let other's actions dim our light. We can choose to be kind to others, lift others up, refrain from gossip and cattiness. We can still seek the right things. We don't have to let the wrong priorities take hold. And when others don't live by the same acts of kindness, we can still shine even when the world tries to dim us.
My second point was this: The lotus is always striving upward, toward the light. It keeps rising. (Keep working toward your best self. Don’t let “mud” hold you back. Rise above and be better because of the wisdom you’ve learned.)
Always working on your best self is holy work. Growing toward the light is symbolic of growing toward God. Even though you may be dealing with worldly circumstances, keeping your eyes on God will bring you growth and freedom.
However, something else I mentioned (above) is worth diving into as well. This part: The lotus flower wouldn’t “be” without the mud. All of the mud, sludge, and junk in your life matters. It matters because of what it taught you. It matters not because that mud, sludge and junk has any significance in your life anymore (let it go!), but that you overcame it or learned from it. Whether you think you did it well or not is not always relevant. You survived those circumstances, challenges, disappointments, failures, or whatever your "sludge" is. The mud helped form you into who you are now. You get to choose how you use your so-called mud. You can use it to become bitter and stuck, or you can use it to become better. If you have learned from it and grown better from it, then you have risen above. So, keep on rising. Don't sit back down in the mud.
Remember: No mud, no lotus.
We see the lotus constantly in the yoga world. It's on studio logos, yoga mats, jewelry, yoga clothing, everywhere. Why is that? How does all of this relate to your yoga practice?
How does the lotus relate to your yoga practice? Because yoga is the path of self-realization and transformation.
Because yoga is the path of self-realization and transformation. This is exactly what the lotus does! The lotus is the perfect symbol of overcoming, seeking truth, and rising above. Yoga is not a religion as some critics like to claim, but rather a tool to help us grow. It's for anyone, no matter your religious views. You have to remember that yoga is not just physical exercise on a yoga mat, though that part is extremely important. Yoga is a whole big beautiful world of learning about breath, meditation, how to treat others, how to treat yourself, and postures. It is a transformative practice helping you to link your thoughts (mind) to your body. It is a way to be more aware. Far too much of our day (or life), we go about living in a mindless way— thinking and worrying our day away. Yoga helps us to stop that endless loop, and to step into the present moment.
Yoga helps us on our journey to becoming our best selves mentally, spiritually, and physically: the total you.
Make no mistake, the mindfulness part is quite important. If you're not mindful, your moments slip away unnoticed. Yoga helps us with that.
To be aware of our breath...
To be aware of our mind and our thoughts...
To be aware of how we treat others...
To be aware of how we treat ourselves...
To be aware of our body...
To be aware...
If we can stay more mindful for more minutes of our day, then we are able to stay rooted in the things that really matter instead of letting our moments, opportunities, and decisions slip away from us unnoticed. We can live in our own truth instead of letting the world yank us around. We can transform the way we live and love. We can practice ahimsa (do no harm to any living thing). We can treat others the way we'd like to be treated. We can really see other people, and hold space for them. We can be kind to ourselves and mindful of how we treat our mind and our body. We can accept who we really are and let go of who we thought we were supposed to be. We can accept other people. We can learn from them and listen to them. We can see past differences we may find in each other (and these days it's plentiful— from skin color to politics), and see another soul shining back at us. We can respect all of creation. We can be a light in the world for others.
We can be like the lotus, transforming things that happen to us (mud) into beauty, and always growing toward the light, encouraging others to do the same.
Yoga, then, simply helps us on our lotus journey toward the light— the journey of growing into your best self.
Love + Light.
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Hi, I'm Blake. I love adventure, cooking, costume parties, wine, yoga, and reading...in that order. Follow my blog for yoga stuff, fitness tips, & healthy recipes...
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