What is a Medicine vs. Dessert Philosophy and How Does it Apply to Yoga?
Medicine: On the face of it, medicine can literally leave a bad taste in our mouths even when we know we need to take it. But medicine also saves lives and enhances every day living for many despite the belief that living a medicine free life is the ultimate goal. Living our best lives should be our ultimate goal and if medicine helps us do that then why not embrace it even if it does not taste so awesome?
This philosophy applies to yoga when we avoid certain poses, class styles, and teachers because they make us uncomfortable or we avoid what is difficult / challenges us and our egos. In fact, usually what we tend to steer away from is what we need the most because it is hard for us.
Too much of anything is not a good thing so being aware of patterns of self abuse and self punishment is important when it comes to the right dosage of medicine in our yoga (constantly forcing our bodies into overworking and not balancing this with self care and recovery days is not healthy and unsustainable in the long run).
If one side of unhealthy balance is constantly pushing too hard then the other side of this coin is always taking the easiest and most familiar approach to our yoga practice. We tend to be attracted to what we are good at and what makes us feel successful in most areas of our lives as our egos can demand and direct this.
Dessert: At a glance, this seems like an obvious choice over medicine because who doesn’t want dessert over medicine? Think of your favorite sweet treat and how you feel after savoring that first bite of yummy goodness! Even desserts can get a bad rap as it seems sugar is the new evil ingredient we must avoid at all costs, which only makes it that much more attractive and addictive. Moderation, as in most things, is the key here- dessert is not bad. We should take the time to savor the taste and flavor of each bite with intention and purpose so we are not stuffing our faces and eating our feelings.
This applies to our yoga practice when we binge to excess only on the classes that give us that sugar high and rush of endorphins. We crave the classes that taste yummy and make us feel secure in our talents and gifts while avoiding the classes that make us feel awkward, insecure and irritable. This is our nature dictated by the ego and the fluctuations of our monkey minds.
Finding Balance: Awareness of this push and pull in our minds and bodies is a huge part of bringing balance and clarity to our yoga practice. This philosophy can be applied to every pose, every class and everyday life choices. One is not better that the other so the approach should be that moderation and intention are the antidote to excess and injury! The real question is: What does my body truly need today? What does my spirit truly need today? What does my mind truly need today?