October 6, 2015

Yoga Is to Be Lived, Not Performed.

yoga sunset

Four years ago, I felt my calling from the mountaintops of Wanderlust Vermont. It was there that I knew I wanted to become a yoga teacher.

I wasn’t drawn to the one-armed handstands or the yoga on top of picnic tables; I was drawn to the quality of the people, to the authenticity of their smiles and to hugging a stranger just because she shared the same first name as me. It was magic. It was, in my mind, yoga.

Now yogis are called to do 30-day challenges, persuaded to take a picture of our “practice” every day in hopes of winning yoga pants and then asked to take another picture in a different pose in the yoga pants we just won. Yoga is so silly.

That said, social media has been an incredible tool for me, though I post pictures of myself all the time. But in essence, none of my pictures are of my practice—my practice is continuous.

And there’s so much story behind most of my pictures. I couldn’t possible get it all into in. It isn’t just learning to use the dharma wheel this week; it’s learning to use the dharma wheel and then taking time to be of service to the person who gave me the opportunity to practice with the wheel. It’s not just about the handstand; it’s the story behind the tradition of the inversion that requires us to put our hearts above our heads instead of leading through the world with our heads above our hearts, our minds completely controlling us along with our thoughts and emotions.

I’ll promise you this: realizing that there’s so much more to yoga than postures is an incredible gift. These people you see on social media—we have stories to share, philosophies to be spoken of, songs to be chanted and prayers to be said.

It was incredibly freeing to realize that the most “advanced” yogis are the ones with the purest hearts, the ones who would drop it all to listen, to give advice and to be supportive of my wildest dreams. And it was incredibly freeing to realize that in the end, a rat is still a rat—and a man or woman who can press up on his or her fingertips may just be a trapped soul waiting to learn and be guided on along the path, or he or she may in fact be the purest of souls.

Practice living yoga. Practice the path that makes you feel like you’re more than a tight hamstring, a headstand, or the perfect shavasana. Practice serving yourself in such a way that you can’t help but to serve those around you. Fall in love with this life. It’s so sweet… and it’s so much more than a performance. It’s a freaking life dance!


Author: Katie Collins

Editor: Evan Yerburgh

Image: Flickr

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Katie Collins

Albany native Katie Collins teaches a strong vinyasa flow with a focus on foundation and alignment, making balancing and inversions more accessible, mindful and most importantly, fun! Katie completed her 200 hour YTT in the summer of 2013 and her 300 hour YTT in 2015 under the guidance of Justin Wolfer and quickly learned what it meant to embrace her practice with mind, body and spirit! Along with the physical practice and teachings of yoga, Katie also has a passion for holistic living, health & wellness and many of her students find her nursing background helpful when dealing with chronic illnesses. Her classes are a dynamic flow that will incorporate human body awareness with a sprinkle of strong core work, flexibility and the journey toward inversions. Katie also teaches SUP YOGA, is a team member of BOGA YOGA Paddleboards and has presented classes at Wanderlust Vermont 2015. Katie is a firm believer that yoga is to be lived, not just explored on the mat. Join Katie in class to learn more about diving deep into a yogic lifestyle, a path that will lead you to love all & serve all.