The more I practice and the more I teach the more humble I become to the vast expanse of Yoga. The name Yoga seems so simple, yet it is a complex, interwoven system that means something different to everyone. There are no requirements to begin a Yoga practice, there is no “one way” to practice Yoga, and everyone will experience different outcomes with their Yoga practice.
I liken Yoga to a maze. I visualize this maze to be a calm, serene environment where every turn leads to a new experience, whether positive, negative or neutral, a sense of curiosity and equanimity. Everyone can enter the maze at different “entrances” and take a unique series of twists and turns and explorations with no fixed goal or outcome.
When I began my first Yoga classes I was pleased with the physicality of the class, I felt proud when I could touch my toes in a forward fold, or hold tree pose without toppling over. The physical aspect of Yoga is a popular draw for many students. However, I quickly learned the humbling aspects of these Yoga poses. It doesn’t matter how strong or flexible you may be, most asana Yoga poses cannot be forced. They require a deep connection within, a strong base of alignment and a sense of ease and steadiness. My journey into Yoga started with the physical, and then the humbling aspects of the asana practice took me to a journey within.
Yoga will never be the same from one practice to the next as it is ever changing, flowing with your life experiences, connecting you, your body and mind as one. Letting go of expectations, allowing the practice to come to you and committing to the practice will allow you the space for greater depth and exploration into this diverse world of Yoga.
Yoga is more than a 1 hour asana Yoga class, it is a lifestyle. It consists of small, simple behaviors such as taking a deep breath when feeling overwhelmed, it is about finding a positive in a difficult situation, it is about reaching out to help someone, it is about finding compassion for others, for listening and thinking before speaking, about removing inner blocks and clutter and letting go of your “story”. Most of all, Yoga for me is the personal development, within and without, a journey with no end and no expectation.
And so it is….