It is common that a practice becomes like spiritual Tylenol for people seeking solace from a difficult world. It’s true that the practice can work like a sedative, in fact, for years I have used my own yoga as a means to self medicate.
Yoga and Spirituality
A yoga practice can certainly mellow you out and take the edge off. But is the goal of practice simply quiescence, good vibes, and feelings of OM shanti? I think that yoga in the West has been sidelined by agendas to self soothe and become less reactive. While this has merit and short term advantages, it can sequester people from the perplexing, troublesome challenges of the world. Often people grow so sensitive that when things go topsy turvey, they become irritable and impatient. This is why it is important not to cling to equanimity.
The practice must prepare us to be with dilemmas, struggles, and confrontation. Yes, it should make us calm and peaceful but also durable, adaptable, and resilient. The practice should make us ready each day to engage skillfully and fearlessly with whatever arises.