So we get that wowzer feeling in our body when we practice. The body aches in delight with the stretch and the strengthening. The spine tingles with sensation at its lengthening, the organs hum to the feelings of being cleansed. But why is this so different to aerobics, spinning or any other forms of exercise?
When I first started Yoga over 18 years ago, I wanted to get strong, flexible, lose weight and sure yes kinda’ destress. I pushed myself into these contortions and exaggerated my efforts to look the part of a perfect Yogini. I chose to practice the hard core style of Vinyasa & even dabbled in Ashtanga for a short while. If I didn’t sweat it wasn’t going to shake out the crazy!
I noticed as the Poses became less of a challenge my mind started to crazy it out even more. “Do I look as good as her”, “Do I look ridiculous upside down” even “Does my ass look big in this pose”!! While my body was strengthening my mind hadn’t yet joined the party. Then something started to change.
You may have heard about the 8 limbs of Yoga, and Yoga Asana (physical aspect) is only a part. It is actually the culmination of the other 7 limbs that truly open the practice to a deeper level. Yoga creates the space to breathe, both physically, emotionally and mentally when we give it full attention.
Svadhyaya or self-study, is one of the Niyama’s the yogic moral codes for living a whole and fulfilled life. As we focus on our breath during practice, we start the practice of Svadhyaya. Asking how our breath is during certain transitions, movements or when we hold the poses gets us to become truly present on our mat. We become focused on being in the moment and start observing our thought patterns. How do we speak to ourselves, do we force & push or do we prefer to give up and rest? When we fall from balance, do we berate ourselves or do we laugh?
So as my practice deepened and I noticed the crazies, I started to observe myself in a whole new light. When I noticed my mind wandering, I gently brought it back, so including it in the training. My thoughts started to stay a little closer to the practice and my practice became more easeful, less forced. Focus came through my breathing not how I made the pose look.
Now a days when I roll out my mat, I cannot fail to notice that each time brings a different experience, not always as I want it, sometimes it’s just movement. But I observe and I choose to notice my mind fluctuation. Gradually my mind is getting more focused, to intertwine it completely I may need at least a lifetime but now I am practicing Yoga with my whole self and it feels magical.
Yoga WEEKEND retreat; Sept 15th.
Details on my workshop & retreat page.
Limited availability as its a small retreat.
For more information danisheilYoga@gmail.com. No experience needed, but booking essential.