People who consistently practice yoga – even the relatively superficial exercises of hatha yoga – inevitably improve their relationships with people, things and concepts. For example, I just noticed that I’ve become intimate with my yoga mat!
Seriously, hatha yoga exercises require us to spend a lot of time on the mat. We get to know the color, texture and overall feel of our yoga mat(e). Our mat becomes an extension of us.
However, since I often practice without a mat, I become very aware of the floor I am working on – whether it’s wood or carpet. Every movement I perform requires me to either push away from the floor or surrender myself into it (or a bit of both).
This week in the middle of my practice, I suddenly felt intimate with the floor. I sensed myself having a relationship with the floor. This may sound odd but I think that’s what’s supposed to happen with hatha yoga. More specifically, since the exercises are meant to be practiced on the bare ground in a natural setting, the practitioner gradually develops a relationship with the ground, with the earth.
My conclusion is that yogis sense their deep connection to the earth. We love the earth and want to protect it; we can’t bear to see it polluted or otherwise harmed. I suspect that people who are drawn to hatha yoga either have a natural love for the earth or will inevitably develop a sense of love and respect for the earth with regular practice.
Through our mutual intimacy with the earth, yogis develop respect for each other as well. We want to share resources/knowledge and assist one another on the yoga path. Instead of focusing on our differences, we want to build bridges and enjoy our oneness with all.