What Yoga Taught me of Beauty and Love

By Bastian Florian Rohr
December 29, 2022

To the average Western mind, aesthetic appreciation and feeling love both mean extreme emotional tension from the person engaging in them. Just look at Aeschylus’ plays if unconvinced: do they not overflow with streams of blood, rivers of lust, and oceans of tears? But this is, after all, the very point of a tragedy. This is also true, mutatis mutandis, with love: how could it be called love if it doesn’t make your heart boil at least three times over?

Yet, my outlook changed dramatically as my yoga practice gradually “chilled” my mind. Somehow, the more advanced I became, the more detached from external circumstances. But, to my surprise, I didn’t come to feel cold indifference toward them. On the contrary, I realized a paradoxical and wonderful truth instead: the less emotionally involved you are with the objects of your thoughts, the deeper and more fundamentally you can embrace them. This is one of the many doors that yoga has opened for me.

It all seems so natural now. While inner turmoil may appear more adapted to love and beauty at first glance, only a tranquil and unmoved mind allows these gems of life to bloom inside of oneself fully.

My flower arrangement mistress had taught the same lesson at the dawn of my initiation: “to let each flower breathe within your creation, your heart must be more dead than a windless night over the sea.” Of course, I didn’t understand her words back then. It took me countless hours of yoga to finally extinguish the storms I allowed to rage inside of my damn head.

Since then, I have reread Aeschylus’ works. I enjoy his red fires with a much deeper and calmer outlook. And I like to believe that the flowers suffering under my hands breathe a little better. As for love, it is now so pure that I no longer feel its bites.