January 28, 2014

Our Yogic Path: Understanding the Basics. ~ Calley Anne Fae

“Today I am going to practice yoga,” you say to yourself.

Excited by your motivated attitude, you prepare to make it to the seven o’clock class at your favorite studio. As the time grows near, you begin to make excuses. Too busy, too tired, too hungry, tomorrow would work better. Instead of making it to class, you decide otherwise. There’s a part of you that is aware of the need and desire to do yoga but when it’s time for class, something resists.

You are not the only one with this resistance.

Personally, I have found the most growth in my practice, is when I am doing yoga alone and in the comfort of a private setting. Yet, there is a definite motivational factor to going to classes. I made it a goal to balance my practice in the studio following a teacher and practicing the asanas with myself.

So you decide to begin a practice at home. You roll out your yoga mat, create a special place to focus inward, and then the resistance rises again. Perhaps you set a side some time in your mind to do some yoga asanas, but the day passes so quickly that you barely get around to touching your toes.

These scenarios may or may not sound familiar. Either way, the following reflections will help any student create a stronger personal practice and find deeper commitment to the yogic path.

Determined to adapt to a yogic mentality and lifestyle, I decided to educate myself on the true meaning of yoga. Eventually, the resistance disappeared and what remained was the inevitable need for expanding and healing my mind, body and soul.

Yoga literally means, to unite or bring together.

It is the unification of the mind and body, the self with the divine self. Yoga is a way of life, a process of self realization. It is a life-long discovery of who we are from the surface to the core.

Yoga brings focus to the force that connects all beings through breath.

I learned that with out attention to the breath during yoga, we can fall into unconscious reactions to our environment. According to ancient practices native to Eastern religions, everything we do is Yoga. Yoga is life, for those who understand it’s importance to being a wholesome, centered, and balanced being. It is a personal discovery through the challenges of will-power and self-love, commitment, and patience with the unfolding process.

We began to realize that Yoga is not an exercise or work out.

It is not work at all. We begin to think of yoga when we brush our teeth, breath is steady through the nostrils, attention to feet positioning, tadasana! We start to sit on the floor rather than in chairs, legs crossed, spine erect.

When one begins to understand the true concept of yoga, it becomes a part of everything we do. I believe that to be the idea. A constant awareness of the body posture and breath and a continual effort to merge mind and body, with spirit.

Instead of going to a class without a personal understanding of yoga and the asanas, educate oneself and take the practice in to ones own hands. Open up to the spiritual aspect of yoga and the goal of each asana. Allow the spirit to guide as one connects with the body on deeper levels. Try one-on-one lessons with qualified teachers where one can ask questions and move at their own pace. It is extremely helpful for students pursuing yoga to know the history and purpose of this practice.

It is even more important for students to learn each asana posture correctly and understand the proper alignment and breath that goes along with it. Each person has a unique yogic path ahead of them and it starts with understanding the basics.

Then, it becomes a way of life. The postures meld into daily activities and the body and mind become stronger together. Do yoga in the shower, at work, in the garden, kitchen, bedroom, and whenever you feel called.

Naturally, you will become the balanced being you strive to be.

So, don’t force anything. If your not feeling yoga class today, turn on some music while your in the shower and try uttanasana (standing forward bend), or chair pose. Enjoy yourself and the practice.

Love elephant and want to go steady?

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Assistant Editor: Heather Hendry/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Flickr


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