“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished,” says Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert. “The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting, and as temporary as all the people you’ve ever been.”
Gilbert refers to this mistaken notion of stasis, of an already-formed, unchangeable self, as “the end-of-history illusion” — the false idea that we’ve already become who we’re going to be, and are not likely to change. The truth is that we are in a constant, never-ending state of flux, growth, and evolution. We are always changing, until the day we die.
On the yoga mat, these changes become tangible. Today I could get a few inches closer into a pose than I could yesterday. Today something that previously seemed inconceivable happened out of the blue. The practice is a constant daily reminder that change is happening. It’s a way to begin to unwind some of the narratives that we’ve fed ourselves over the long histories of our lives, the stories that have formed our identities, have labeled us, have put us into limiting boxes. Yoga is a chance to throw into question all of those fixed beliefs, to up-end them, to challenge them. With each breath, we give permission to redefine, and therefore to renew, ourselves.
You may find that surrendering to the fact that we don’t know who we will become is liberating, and infuses you with a newfound, childlike wonder. This is Yoga Rejuvenation. It’s an essential part of our yoga practice, as well as hopefully of our lives as a whole. If we can learn on the mat to suspend disbelief, trust our breath, and remain open to the wonders and surprises that unfold, then perhaps we can apply that new-found faith to other aspects of ourselves and our journey. The old adages are true: Never say never. Change is the only constant. Things can change on a dime. And a personal favorite of mine, courtesy of my 80 year-old Dad: You will never step into the same river twice.