Yoga changes the body and mind in many subtle and more obvious ways. Take for example my relationship to creepy crawlies. I grew up in Pennsylvania and am now back after a nearly 11 year departure via Boston (10 years - very few creepy crawlies - must be too cold) and Kentucky (1 year - lots of creepy crawlies, some I've never seen before and hope to never see again).
One thing that we have a lot of here in Eastern Pennsylvania are these guys:
If you are unfamiliar with this, it is as creepy as it looks here and it's fast. They seem to come out most when it has just rained. They apparently take care of other pests, but that doesn't make them any more endearing.
So what does this have to do with yoga? My reaction to these friends used to be to grab a rolled up magazine and smash it's disgusting little guts all over the place.
A few months ago, I encountered one in the yoga studio. This was a conundrum. It felt really wrong to kill in the sacred space where I practice. So, I kept an eye on it and then alerted the studio owner to him when he came in. Larry picked the little creeper up and took it outside unscathed. He did the same yesterday when one crawled across another student's mat.
And here in my home, I've seen two that I decided to let go. The cats could get them if that was in the cards. Otherwise, non-violence ruled the day. Don't get me wrong, I'm no angel. Another one was uncomfortably close to my bed and was not so lucky. But I'm letting 2/3 creepies live side by side with me.
When during my 10 year practice did this shift from screaming and squashing to watching and releasing occur? It's just one of many strange things that happen to the yogi.