Yoga is a practice for everyone. Every body, every mind, every background, every religion – everyone.
In the world we live in, we are required to function in a non-stop “absorb and respond” mode almost all of the time. When we function all day at this high level of emotional stress, we can feel it physically. This is because our emotions and our physical body are connected. When we go through the day simultaneously holding our breath from stress and letting out big sighs of relief, what does this show us? Our emotion (stress) ties into a physical response (tension), and our ability to think clearly is impacted by the resulting deprivation of oxygen to our brain.
The connection between mind and body is whole and real.
How we approach that connection is up to us.
The Practice of Yoga
The practice of yoga encourages us to recognize the existing foundation that we all stand upon, which can naturally bring us back to a state of balance and ease. This foundation is stable through the breath, an awareness of our body, and an ability to listen to what it tells us (beyond the messages we receive all day from the brain).
We feel better when we breathe deeper.
We feel better when we stretch our body and quiet the mind from endless internal chatter and commentary.
We feel better when we give ourselves time to slow down and simply be present and genuine.
Yoga On the Mat
For many of us, asana (physical practice) is where our experience with yoga starts. Over time, we grow to learn that yoga is so much more than moving the body through a series of postures.
Donna Farhi, an amazing teacher and favorite author of mine, once wrote:
“Coming home to the body through asana practice can be a joyous reunion.”
From this reunion, we may feel a sense of fulfillment and a natural gravitation to honor our bodies and minds at a deeper level. We create space around the immediate “absorb and respond” mode that we have become accustomed to. We recognize our ability to respond to stress with deeper breaths and intention. We become more open, we are able to balance with whatever the world throws at us, and we realize that we are not a slave to our day-to-day circumstances. Rather, these circumstances may be an opportunity to meet a situation from a new perspective.
From this space of awareness, we can change our lives.
Yoga Off the Mat
There comes a point in practice when the benefits of yoga asana and the concepts we learn in class begin to surface in our lives “off the mat”. Sometimes it’s super quick. Sometimes it takes time. Whatever the individual experience, asana usually points to the realization that something WAY deeper is at work. All of the sudden yoga becomes much more than twisty pretzel shapes and going upside down.
We can take our practice beyond asana by investigating and learning the other seven limbs of yoga. We can begin to live in alignment with the yamas (ethical standards) and niyamas (codes of conduct) of yoga. We can connect deeply with our breath through pranayama (breath control). We can seek even deeper through the higher branches of yoga.
The depth to which you can take this practice is really up to you.
What You’ll Find Here
Explore my Physical Practice blog to learn more about cultivating a safe and healthy physical practice. Each pose is meant to teach us something. Often, the lesson presented is different each time we practice. From body awareness and connection, we can use our lessons on the mat to bring our yoga more holistically into our day-to-day life.
Interested in digging a bit deeper? Explore my Self Study blog to read about my personal process of self growth through the practices of yoga and mindfulness. I’ll share stories and experiences, books I have found particularly impactful in my studies, and more.
Interested in starting or expanding your practice? Awesome! Learn about upcoming classes on my Class page. You can read about how I came to yoga as a student and my credentials and training as a teacher on my About Me page. Feel free to shoot me a message if you have questions!
I hope you find the depth to your practice that is calling to you.
After all, yoga is all about intention. When you commit to your practice, it will show you what you seek!
Love and Namaste.