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When we first begin our yoga practice we believe that we must be “yogis.” We buy the pants, the shirts, the mats and all the accessories that our mind identifies with being a yogi.
We say “no” to Grandma’s tamales, the neighbor’s cheese seems mundane and sugar in the lemonade becomes completely unacceptable.
We try to redefine ourselves as individuals and although certain changes are necessary and they are also products of the practice, sometimes we forget that yoga is a means by which we can get to know ourselves, our way of thinking, speaking, acting and even walking in the world. Yoga focuses our individuality and in doing so connects us to the wide net that spreads life throughout the universe.
As our practice unfolds we begin to fall in love with our breath, to enjoy our presence and to become friends with ourselves. As this process occurs we begin to develop a sweet love for everything that breathes, to enjoy the presence of others and gradually we begin to embrace who we really are as human beings; and when we accept ourselves with all our perfect imperfections, we not only tolerate but profoundly a
Yoga unveils the passion that runs through our veins, while teaching us to intelligently and consciously harness our energy and how it affects the personal boundaries of others.
Yoga makes us feel in our body the Latin spirit that connects us with others, and that makes us recognize that we are part of the web of Indra. This spirit lives in and is expressed through the rhythm in our walk, the romance of our language, and the humility of our heart.
We cannot hide that we come from a land where the sun shines hot and the rain trembles, where the mountains reflect our wild spirit, and where the beaches invite us to join to their rhythm in this dance of life and death, and how the effervescence of our culture intoxicates all those around us.
Our practice becomes an expression of what we feel and think at any given moment. We are products of our experiences, of the paths that our feet have trod, of the bodies that we have touched, of the spirits that have guided us and of every living being whom we have loved. Let us live each moment to its fullest, taste every word, learn to touch with our eyes and feel the sounds with our skin and let us slowly savor the penetrating sweet fragrance of each breath.
Let us take this practice, which does not recognize borders or languages, to the people of our land, to the elders who taught us all about life. Let us take it to the men and women who wake up each day waiting for a better day, to the youth who with their strength and energy inspire us to keep on dreaming and to the children who with their smiles and innocence remind us from where we came.
Let us be the yogis who enjoy Grandma’s tamales, who sigh with the aroma of coffee and surrender to the taste of chocolate, who stop to greet neighbors and who move our hips to the sound of the guitar and the drum. And above all let us be the ones who feel the most raw and tender parts of our hearts, the parts that move us to create an intimate relationship with human suffering. For it is those experiences which make us a compassionate and kind being, willing at all times to relieve the suffering of others, and to love others as we love ourselves.
Let us advance the human spirit in an indefinite search for
Karla McNeil is an Ashtanga yoga practitioner, engineer, and writer. She was born and raised in Honduras and from an early age showed great passion for science, spirituality and social justice. Karla has studied Ashtanga Yoga with Richard
~ Editor: Jeannie Page.