We are presented with countless decisions every single day. Some of these decisions are more trivial - what to eat for breakfast, which book to start reading - whereas some are more impactful - how to proceed in an argument with your partner, which job to apply for. But no matter the gravity of the situation, our decisions are always governed by 3 distinct principles. In yoga they are known as: rhoga, boga, and yoga.
Decisions made based off of roga are driven by the desire to immediately satisfy a need. Usually these decisions are simple and primitive. For example, if I’m hungry and I make the decision based on roga, I am going to eat whatever is fastest and most accessible - maybe going to a drive through or heating up a frozen burrito or the like. The thought process prior to making a roga decision is something like: “I have a need...X is the quickest way to address this need...I’ll do that.” The end result of a roga decision is that the need is sated -- if only in the most basic way.
Decisions made based off of bhoga go beyond taking the simplest route to satisfy a need by also factoring in the entertainment / fun factor. To continue the example from above, let’s say I’m hungry. A bhoga decision I may then make would be to eat something I find enjoyable: a pastry, a juicy burger, maybe a bowl of my favorite cereal. The thought process throughout this would be something like: “I have a need...Y sounds like an enjoyable way to address this need, so I’m going to treat myself to that option.” The end result of such a decision is that the need is sated and you probably enjoyed the process -- at least initially.
Which brings us to our final category…
Although “yoga” has a great many translations (including “to yoke” and “to find a comfortable seat”), in this context it means to nourish. Therefore, decisions made according to yoga are based off of what might be most nourishing. As relates to eating, this would mean choosing foods that will strengthen and stabilize the systems of the body: whole foods rich in nutrition. The thought process here is something like: “I have a need...There any many options here, some of which are easy (roga) and some of which sound more enjoyable (bhoga), but option Z would be most nourishing, so I will choose that.” The end result of this sort of decision is that 1) the need is satisfied, and 2) anyone involved in the decision is better for it.
We’re all going to make decisions according to all 3 of these motivations. The goal here isn’t to say “never make the easy decision” or “only ever make yogic choice”, but rather to become aware of these forces in order to better understand the decisions we make and the impact those choices have. For example, the easiest (roga) choice is often colorless and lacking in some way. If the self is a boat and the need is a hole in the bottom of the boat, then roga would be a bail bucket. It keeps the boat floating, but certainly doesn’t add to it in any way.
Bhoga, on the other hand, would be like a plug in the whole. It keeps the boat floating and sufficiently stops water from coming on, but it leaves a weak point in the boat’s bottom.
As you might have guessed, yoga, then, would be akin to replacing the boat’s bottom. In this way the hole is completely removed, and the boat is made to have further integrity.
Some days it’s all we can do to bail water overboard. Some days we fashion a plug and merrily float along. But some days we choose to engage in the challenging work of replacing the deck altogether -- a cumbersome yet rewarding task which allows us to start anew.
Brooke is a contributing author for Tada Rugs. Tada Rugs is a 5x7 yoga mat disguised as an artistic area rug that you never have to put away. Tada is short for tadasana, or mountain pose, and our own backyard in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado is where we find our inspiration. Check out our new designs, enter for a chance to win a new Tada Rug, and be sure to follow us for deals and insider specials! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or contact us through our website! Tie a room together and bring your practice home.
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