May 14, 2011

Yoga is Weird. ~ Elle Basten

So often I say to myself and to others–I wish I could call yoga something different.

Relieve “yoga” of all its stereotyped afflictions and shift the perspective of those who are resistant to it–show them the practice that changed my life–for the better.

When I first began doing yoga, I thought it was all weird. I did not chant, I often left during savasana because it felt torturous having to just…lay there. My mind was a chattering monkey that I could not quiet. I did not connect with the language or the foreign-feeling lifestyle. I did not want to “sparkle out my fingertips” and cringed and the smell of nag champa—ok, ok…I still do.

This is not a post about how I changed my mind or was drawn in when I realized all the amazing benefits of yoga–which are more than I can name.

This is about yoga and its ability to open up the acceptance of self as we already are. Eventually, I knew that I could get into my flow alongside any Lulu-clad muscle man or patchouli princess and still feel like I was right where I belonged. That the only thing separating me from the other human beings I took class with was…me.

Over the course of time, tears and near-criminally honest self-evaluation; it was all too clear.

We are all a little weird.

Whether we do yoga or not, the important lesson lies in our ability to stop judging others and ourselves; to find clarity in the present moment and feel peace with what already is. Yoga is just one way to get there.

So, instead of trying to change yoga to make it more palatable for the masses of folks who feel more comfortable judging it than doing it – I decided to accept that it may not be for everyone. But the fact is, there is a practice that everyone can do and feel better for it.

Just Breathe.

After all, that’s all it really is.

If we are able to breathe–a whole world of possibility opens up for us. The opportunity to shift, change or accept becomes all the more available. The breath is our bridge between the body and the mind.

So if you can breathe–you can do yoga. In fact, you already are.

How weird is that?

Elle Basten is a self-confessed dharma brat and curious cat. She is constantly seeking and investigating life at all angles and yoga has been an integral tool in her self-discovery. Elle teaches Yin & Vinyasa yoga to anyone that’s interested.

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