October 17, 2013

The Coolest Yoga Pose Ever. {Photos}

Nope, it’s not that one.

Or this one.

Or even this one.

Actually, it might be this:

Or this:

Or maybe even this:

Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.

What does that mean?

It means that we’re only practicing asanas—from “simpler” poses like child’s to trickier ones like headstand—because we’re trying to remain in the moment by working our bodies and our balance, and we’re expending our energy and expanding our flexibility in order to be more fully present during meditation or even at the upcoming staff meeting at work.

Practicing yoga does not have to be on a mat.

You can practice the cessation of the fluctuations of our minds when you’re driving—you’re thinking about driving.

You can practice when you’re riding a bike or merely focusing on the sensations of your breath as it comes in and out of your nostrils. If this sounds easy, I guarantee that you’ve never tried practicing “real” yoga.

Ceasing what many of us call the “monkey mind” (our constantly churning thoughts that are floating through our heads) is absolutely not easy—which is where and why asana does come in.

On the other hand, I don’t know about you, but holding a tiny baby—feeling her warm, soft cheek against your chest; smelling her soft, sweet scent as your nose presses the top of her tender head—this can be practicing yoga. I’ve never experienced yoga so well in my life like when I hold my daughter.

Also, this might not be quite what we’re looking for, but feeling an emotion—really digging in and being with your hurt, frustration, jealousy—this can be practicing yoga in the sense that you aren’t shoving your feelings aside and pretending to feel something “easier” like anger. 

“We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict.”

~ Jim Morrison

So yoga doesn’t have to look like this:

Or this:

Instead, it can look like this:

(That’s my husband “pond jumping,” by the way—he’s better at practicing yoga than I am and he doesn’t even own a yoga mat, just a few different bikes.)

Because yoga has nothing to do with a sticky mat—that’s merely a tool to help us achieve this mental clarity, peace and restfulness.

How do you practice yoga?

For me, I’ll admit, sometimes my yoga resembles this:

More often than not, though, I would describe my perfect yoga practice like this:

or this:

And I’m certainly not suggesting that motherhood or parenthood is how we all practice yoga—obviously it’s not.

Maybe for you, it’s cuddling your furchild or it could be any number of other things too.

All I’m suggesting is that we keep in mind, when we do finally step onto our yoga mats, that our practice doesn’t call on us to be self-righteous or perfect, “advanced” or anything else besides what we already are—just being with and experiencing this now moment.

And this new now moment.

And this one.



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Ed: Bryonie Wise


Reply to Sarit Z Rogers cancel

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Sarit Z Rogers Feb 17, 2014 2:13pm

This is so fantastic. And so true. Yes, Yes, Yes!

Melody Feb 16, 2014 6:40am

I have said for years, my daughter is my guru and most of my yoga practice is Off the mat. Thank you.

LW Feb 15, 2014 5:45pm


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Jennifer S. White

Jennifer S. White is a voracious reader, obsessive writer, passionate yoga instructor and drinker of hoppy ales. She’s also a devoted mama and wife (a stay-at-home yogi). She considers herself to be one of the funniest people who ever lived and she’s also an identical twin. In addition to her work on elephant journal, Jennifer has over 40 articles published on the wellness website MindBodyGreen and her yoga-themed column Your Personal Yogi ran in the newspaper Toledo Free Press. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in geology, absolutely no degrees in anything related to literature, and she currently owns a wheel of cheese. If you want to learn more about Jennifer, make sure to check out her writing, as she’s finally put her tendencies to over-think and over-share to good use. Jennifer is the author of The Best Day of Your Life, available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She’s also as excited as a five year old to announce the release of her second book, The Art of Parenting: Love Letters from a Mother, available on Amazon.