Yoga is a training for life
Quite a few things have been going on lately. Weekend trips to London and Paris, wedding planning (the big day is getting closer) and a few updates on my path as a yoga teacher.
I have now taught Hot Yoga at the YogaHub for almost 3 months. I am so grateful for the students that keep returning and for being patient with me when I confuse the mirroring or say silly things such as "now lower your floor to the chest".
I remember especially that class when we brought it down to the floor after a series of balancing standing postures. As we sat tall with our legs stretched out in front of us in Dandasana and I was just introducing Paschimottanasana, Seated Forward Bend, the sun starts to shine in through the window. We're blinded by the sunlight. That moment was filled with energy, almost like if time had stopped.
Next up for me is to start teaching yoga at Squarespace. The students have a varied level of experience, most of them are beginners. I can't wait to share my practice with a group that is so curious and motivated. As discussed in this post, the only thing you need to start is motivation.
"Just to let you know I am really not flexible, so I don't think I will be able to do so many poses?"
This question is so often asked, especially when we question ourselves and what our bodies will be able to do.
We think of yoga as a physical practice, but yoga involves so much more. It's about working with the breath, mind and the body. These are our tools to find a healthier way to relate to ourselves and to others.
When we deepen our breath, focus our minds or shift our bodies into different asanas (poses), all that is yoga. It doesn't take a specific asana to be a yogi.
However, if we're already in an asana, which is no longer a challenge for us and we distract from it. I would hesitate to call that yoga.
When you walk in a labyrinth, you need to stay open, patient and curious to enjoy the winding path. Once you arrive in the centre, you might expect a feeling of victory, but that feeling often goes away way too quickly. The rest of the time is merely about taking the same way back, the perspectives may change here, but the path is familiar.
It is all about how we create our own experiences as we travel from our own unique starting point. There are more than 800 yoga poses. But keeping a mindful healthy yoga practice doesn't have anything to do with how many of these poses you are comfortable with. It is not about the achievment. It is rather about the progress.
"Work alone is your privilege, never the fruits thereof. Never let the fruits of action be your motive, and never cease to work. Work in the name of the spirit, abandoning all selfish desires. Be not affected by success or failure. This equipoise is called yoga." (Bhagavad Gītā)
Trust that your body will tell you what it needs. If you have tight hips, shoulders or hamstrings - focus on the breath and practice the poses that will help to loosen these muscle groups. The same goes for finding a yoga practice that will balance the level of stress you have in your life, most of us needs to include a calming yoga practice. What we call yin yoga. And don't forget Savasana.
In this sense, yoga is a training for life. Practice where you are at, right now. Practice to breathe through the tension. Practice an open heart in difficult situations. Practice small active changes and observe the difference it will make. Have your eyes at a goal, but don't be fooled to think the goal is where you need to be. It is in the practice of getting there, that liberation and positive impactful change will happen.