One of my favorite yoga instructors is Kelly. She will often say these words — If you can, you must — during her instruction. I’ve probably heard it from her dozens of times.
And a Bikram class, there will always be grueling difficult postures. For me, it’s usually dandayamana janushirasana.
Supposed to look like this. Mine doesn’t.
Anyway, Kelly might gently say, if you can, you must, during that worse moment of struggle in the posture.
And in that moment, the words always resonate with something in me. And I’m often able to complete the posture.
I know that I can complete the posture; then I feel that because I know that I can, I must.
I posted the meme on Instagram yesterday.
But as I thought more about it — as I really think about it — I’m not sure it’s true.
Think about it. What’s hard for you? Quitting something you know isn’t good for you? Or starting something that you know is?
Can you merely stop the bad behavior or start the good behavior?
Bet you think you can. And it seems that, of course, you have the power to stop. Quitting having that late night bowl of ice cream doesn’t seem impossible. Spending less time on mindless social media surfing doesn’t seem impossible
But I’m not sure if we can just simply choose to stop some of our behaviors — “From this minute forward I will never waste time on Instagram” just seems lofty and unrealistic.
And even if we can, I’m not sure if we must.
But during dandayamana janushirasana, when Kelly reminds me, I know that I can. Hence feel that I must.
I guess what works in yoga doesn’t always work perfectly in real life.
And in philosophical ethics, ideas of ought and decision and choice are tricky topics — never easy to figure out.