But Leela’s story is really applicable to all of us, reminding us that real (i.e. lasting) happiness does not come from outside sources (whether that be physical achievements or intellectual accomplishments) but is generated within ourselves.
The part of the story that struck a nerve with me though, is that it is set in a yogic context (Leelah practices yoga with other kids), highlighting that we all fall prey to delusions, such as thinking that achieving this ONE posture would be the equivalent of climbing Everest and we would be living in Samadhi ever after. In fact, practicing yoga may open your eyes even more to the misconceptions and failings when living a householder life, yet trying to live up to lofty ideals such as ‘unconditional love’, ‘compassion’ and ‘surrender to the divine’.
“Happiness doesn’t come from Headstands” reminds us that we are all on a journey of self-improvement, no matter how many years we’ve practiced yoga. As simple humans, we rely on the support of our community of like-minded people, friends and family to sometimes tell us “Hey, you are okay as you are!”. And in the book, it was Leela’s friend Lyle who told her how amazing she was for being able to sing, skate and draw stars in the sand, and that it didn’t matter to him whether she could do headstands or not.
To find out more about “Happiness doesn’t come from Headstands”, click here.