At the core of what yoga is, is the science of transformation. It is a guide for any individual wanting to create a change in their thinking, their habits, their life.
At the root of transformation is often suffering. Something that arises in life that creates so much discomfort that a shift must take place.
One very well known narrative about transformation is The Hero's Journey, laid out by Joseph Campbell. The archetype of the The Hero moves from the ordinary world, through a journey where he faces his deepest fears and is tested to the core of his being and emerges at the other side forever transformed. This grand narrative appears in myths and movies, in religion and legends. The Hero is brave and extraordinary. The archetype is a he. The one who slays the dragon and battles his demons.
Of the yogic tales, the most well known is that of our Hero Arjuna and his mentor Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.
I recently listened to a discussion where The Hero's Journey was being discussed and one member on the panel said, "but The Hero never had a baby".
I beg to differ.
The Hero most certainly did have a baby.
If the narrative lived by all the women the world over, their mothers and their mothers and their mothers for all existence is not The Hero's Journey, then I don't know what is.
It's just that this narrative, the archetype of the mother, is so ordinary that we fail to see the extraordinary story of transformation. It is the story of the woman who leaves her ordinary life, to seek the adventure of motherhood, to go through the metamorphosis that is pregnancy, is tested by childbirth, tested again by the reward of a newborn, and tested even as they make their way down the mountain back to a new normal.
She may not have sought adventure far from home the way Campbell's Hero has. But she is just as heroic.
While the Hero journeys to lands far and wide to have his psyche and strength tested, the journey of the mother is an inward facing one both literally and metaphorically. As our Heroine gets closer to the event that will transform her, her world moves tighter around her as she digs deeper inside herself.
The demons that she must slay are internal ones.
The ground where the tension takes place is her body and her own mind.
The transformation happens not far from your own home, if not precisely in it.
The ongoing struggles happen not with strangers, but with those with whom you are the closest.
A woman is made when she passes through the threshold of motherhood.
When we recognise The Hero's Journey in something as commonplace as becoming a mother, we can see how the potential for transformation lives right here in our own lives.