Yoga is real popular in the states now. So much so that it has become a glamorous hobby to mention it to others. You should see the look on people’s faces when they get excited to brag with the whole world that they’re going on a yoga retreat in Bali for instance. It’s an ongoing trending topic. You’ll hear the typical soccer mom type speaking to a girlfriend in a grocery store all loud and confidently stating “omg I just went to costa rica for yoga and next I’ll be taking a teachers training course in LA.” And I get it, what’s there not to love about yoga? Yoga in America has become something that is viewed as a positive lifestyle practice. And clearly it has its numerous benefits. Yoga is ancient and full of ancient wisdom and most definitely will tone your body appropriately. But as you may suspect, the west has cultivated it in a different way where it makes it seem like all it is is getting on your mat to do some stretches.
Don’t get me wrong, asana- physical yoga poses are a big portion of what yoga is. But the real yoga is what is going on inside of you. It’s the way you go about your every day to day interactions with others and interaction with Self. It’s really about how you relate and breathe into your spirit. How are you connecting? Not just with yourself but with others as we are all mirrors of each other. How are you connecting with the health of your body and your mind? Are you integrating all of these into each other on a constant basis? Are you honoring your soul and your unique journey? Are you being balanced and not too selfish and selfless enough?
My favorite yoga classes are not necessarily the one I will get the most intense workout it.. for me, I love the teachers that can tap into as Bob Marley calls it, the natural mystic going on in the midst of class. The teacher is directing, the students are moving their bodies in the yoga asana poses and the breath work is happening. But all in the midst of this, they are giving you wisdom nuggets that not only makes you think deeply but it truly resonates with your soul. I remember one yoga teacher guiding a class that stated “this that you’re doing is only one aspect of yoga, the real yoga happens when you leave here and you are stuck in traffic, getting bombarded with a heavy workload, experiencing someone being rude to you- how do you act when that happens? Are you still breathing, being with yourself in the full totality of who you are?”
To me, this type of yoga, more similar to Pantajali’s sutras for yoga which is an ancient text breaking down what the real yoga is all about following. His purpose for creating this in the 18th century was to teach a path for enlightenment. This is what yoga is really about. It is literally a modality to take you to a path of enlightenment within yourself. Don’t take my word for it, try taking up yoga for a bit, set your intentions and connect within your soul, body, mind & breath. What I personally loved the most is in the beginning of my classes, I would set a powerful intention to something I wanted in my life. Like a powerful goal if you will. Let’s say I wanted to be more assertive and learn to stand my ground more. That would be the intention I would set at the beginning of every yoga class (or just one yoga class,) and I would dedicate my whole practice to that. I would mentally state my affirmation. I would breathe into my intention, move to my intention, stand in grounding poses with the knowing that my intention is or will come into full fruition for me. I would notice myself becoming more grounded in my true self. I would find myself in alignment with my desires. See how you can evolve and begin to connect with your higher Self on a regular basis along with your own personal bliss that you Can connect with anytime you want.
To me, yoga is an outlet that brings you to yourself. You become very self-aware and not just of yourself but of situations, others, environments, etc. You incorporate a higher awareness into your every day life. Most yoga studios offer specials to new students with a discounted rate trial for a week, weeks or a month. Try it out at your local yoga studio and see how it all of a sudden becomes your new own sanctuary. Maybe it’s for you, maybe it’s not. But it has way too many benefits for me not to recommend this practice my soul is so very passionate about.