There are BIG, BIG changes in store for me! In seven weeks I will move from where I have been living for 14 years, I will leave behind my house, my pets, my garden and most of my possessions. I will also be leaving behind my studio and all of my students. Even though this is a lot of change and starting over is a bit scary I know this is the right move. My heart tells me so.
So, on the eve of leaving my students I want to share some personally meaningful things with them (and you of course). Since I have seven weeks left, I decided to pick one topic per week to share. Something I have learned from practicing Yoga.
Week 7: Yoga is what you make of it.
I have found over the years of practicing that yoga is what I make of it, what I bring to it and how I shape it with my intention and emotions.
Yoga CAN be calisthenics. I have days when I’m not really thinking or being present but I work my muscles, stretch, sweat my butt off, try to burn calories, work hard, push myself to my limits, always reaching for more, more more! Grrrrrr!
Yoga CAN also be church. I have days when I am feeling meditative and looking inward. I flow gently through practice praying for people, focusing positive energy towards those who need love or healing. Remembering those who have gone on before me.
Yoga CAN be an Ego trip. If I am not careful it is easy to slip into a competitive mind set. Thinking about how I look in a pose, or wanting only to perform “pretty” poses for the camera.
Yoga CAN be drudgery. Many times I come to my mat tired or not wholeheartedly ready to practice. At those times practice seems to take forever or my flow is off or I’m not present.
OR Yoga can be Union. Union of the Mind, Body and Spirit makes yoga a holistic practice that works my body, settles my mind and makes my spirit soar. I am able to hear that small inner voice of truth that is usually drowned out by others telling me what I “should” be doing. My body is worked and challenged but not hurt and my spirit feels in connection with the world around me. I feel positive and happy and alive! And that is the kind of Yoga that I want to practice and share with others.
So how do I set my intention to have a Yoga (union) practice. It starts with becoming present on the mat at the very beginning of practice. I do this by focussing on the breath and listening within, I then move on listening to what my body tells me it needs. I pick poses based on how I feel, what comes to mind as helpful and even throw in a little challenge here and there. I also listen to the spirit by being aware of my surroundings – I love practicing in nature. This makes my spirit so blissful! Doing a sun salutation at sunset is awesome! I add in affirmations and encouragement for my students – sending them love from my heart. I keep the mind steady and present by practicing calming pranayama techniques. I also keep it real by laughing occasionally and interacting with my class.
Yoga is what you or I make of it. It can be drudgery, an ego trip or just calisthenics. But it can be oh so much more. It can be a union of your body, mind a spirit which creates total bliss! It can be all that you need or want it to be. All you have to do is set your intention and get on your mat!