This blog was written with inspiration from reading yogi author and teacher Mark Stephens.
“What if our religion was each other, if our practice was our life, if prayers our words? What if the temple was the earth, if forests were our church, if holy waters – the rivers, lakes, and oceans. What if meditation was our relationships, if the teacher was life, if wisdom was self-knowledge, if love was the center of our being?” – Ganga White
If you practice yoga, you discover an awakening and a positive moving energy in your body – something that gives you a feeling of radiant well-being and wholeness. When you first begin on your yoga path – everything seems separate – your body is separate from your breath, your mind is separate from your body – there is an apparent disconnect – little balance, little flexibility, little strength – often visible within your physical body – but equally present in your emotional, mental, and spiritual body. This separateness is expressed in many ways – stress, anxiety, strong desires to control things that are out of ones control, sense of helplessness or a desire to overachieve, longing and loneliness, disease, sickness, and physical and mental pain, inflexibility, and tightness.
Hatha yoga offers tools to unravel these knots. “Yoga makes you more yourself and opens you up to loving with greater depth…it involves a honing and refining which releases your true essense….just as a scupltor brings out the beauty of form in the stone by slowly and carefully chipping away the rest.” – Joel Kramer
It’s important to know yoga is not a practice of attainment where you are aiming for a certain goal, or a perfect posture, or a perfect life for that matter. “Yoga is an unending process of self-discovery and self-transformation.” It is also important to know that it is not the teacher that does this work – you do your own work – teachers are merely facilitators, providing a safe, clean, calm, positive, supportive space and environment for you to do your work.
“When used as a tool for self-transformation and a path of spiritual being, yoga starts the moment (you) first pay attention to what (you) are doing in (your) practice.” If you are unbalanced and fall, for example, you will go back to your mind – often upset. As you build your practice, you will begin to become calm, strong, stable, flexible – and you will begin to reduce the time you spend in your analytical head. “Each asana (or posture), each moment within and between the asana, every breath, every sensation, and every thought and feeling becomes windows into the nature of the mind, consciousness, and spirit. Your work and practice becomes a platform for healing and self-transformation – peeling back layer by layer, erasing any negative tapes and negative emotions (especially those stuck deep within ourselves), finding and cultivating and nurturing your true wonderfully radiant self – becoming alive, aware, flexible, strong, peaceful, balanced, calm, restored…Your practice becomes incredibly meaningful and spiritual.