I first came to yoga in 1998, and I remain just as entranced with the practice today as I did twenty years ago. What keeps me coming back to my mat over and over again is the fact that the word yoga encompasses so much!
The sanskrit word yoga, or yuj, literally translates to the word yoke. Many interpret this to mean yoga is the yoking, or controlling, of the mind. It is also the yoking, or uniting, of breath and movement. You could say that yoga is the yoking, or union of yin and yang, of masculine and feminine, of strength and suppleness, of this and that…I could go on, but we’re all busy.
Suffice it to say that this balance of opposites is enough to intrigue, and the exploration that followed intrigue is still afoot.
Another aspect of yoga that keeps me hooked is the myriad forms and styles, kriyas and asanas, breath, mantra, mudra, and meditation that combine in endless forms to make up the physical and metaphysical practice of body and mind.
Whether it’s a new kriya from kundalini yoga, a favorite mantra I’m chanting, or the familiar Sivananda sequence of poses, there’s always a practice at my fingertips to challenge my mind and my body.
That is one of the reasons I keep going to events such as Yoga Fest International in Nicaragua or the Yoga Expo Ft. Lauderdale. Weekend or day-long events like these bring together teachers from all areas of practice, and for a moment, everyone is together – both metaphorically under the umbrella of yoga, and literally, under one roof to showcase just some of the facets that make up this amazing practice.
I’m always grateful to participate as teacher and student in these events, and I’m extra excited to simply roll out my mat and move in Ft. Lauderdale because I know that, as a teacher, it’s important that I come to refill my cup and practice in community (and that can be difficult with a full schedule!)
All these different styles aren’t just for flair, or to keep my monkey-mind entertained. The reason there are so many flavors of yoga is because there are so many uses for yoga, and at the end of the day, yoga is a technique for accessing the depths of your true spirit and connecting to your sacred self.
So if, like me, your mind is constantly chattering and stressing you out, find a mantra to chew on. (Not sure where to start? Email me to schedule a private session in person or via Skype and I’ll help you find the right one.) Patanjali spoke as mantras in the Yoga Sutras as:
…a reminder that we are in this world and not of this world. The mantra is the cord that stretches up to connect the infinite spirit within to the infinite spirit above and around us.
You can work with a mantra via a kriya by combining it with special breath practices and movement. You can utilize a mantra in a seated or relaxed meditation, either chanting aloud or silently, or you can use your mantra practically as your mind wanders throughout your day. No matter what application you choose, it’s a powerful practice that creates real shifts fairly quickly.
The asana, or postural practice of yoga itself has uncountable styles, from an introspective yin practice to a sweaty, knee-weakening hot yoga class, there is a practice to meet you physically and energetically exactly where you are. No matter which door you choose, all paths lead inward, and you’ll begin to experience benefits beyond the physical.
Pranayam, or breath work, is a powerful practice for strong emotions. Again, this is something that can be practiced before, during, or after a physical practice, or before a seated meditation. You might practice 5 minutes or 30 minutes, silently at home or behind the wheel of your car while you wait for a light to turn.
And meditation helps integrate your sacred self, peeling away the layers of armor we put on to move through this journey called life and finally (re)connect to the pulsing, beating heart of your inner blissful self.
If the road feels steep working alone, contact me to set up a time to work together! I can help you create a sequence using your best combination of techniques, and support your healing with the energetic work of Reiki.