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We All Are Yoga

Being human is a complicated thing.

We live in a world of confusing choices and contradictions. Living among other sentient beings, we need to navigate our own personal needs within those of the community. Yoga is a revolutionary practice that changes our relationship with ourselves and with the world.


How do we gain mastery of our own thoughts and choices while the world tosses us around with its ups and downs, constant demands, and so many voices telling us what is wrong with us?


Not the superficial way yoga is currently being practiced, running to the gym, moving through some postures (asanas) to make ourselves more physically fit, flexible, or attractive. Yoga isn’t about that, it is so much more, when you look. The postures asanas are just a small part of it, a stepping stone on the path of true happiness and fulfillment.


Living Yoga.

An ancient universal teaching intended to cultivate an awareness of our true Self and our place in this universe. It transcends all barriers regardless of thoughts, beliefs, social status, physical attributes, or anything else that sets us apart from anyone else.


Every single sentient being on this Earth can practice Yoga. (Read that again.)


Yoga is that kind of practice, it isn’t just asana and fitness, or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s about what you are connected to all the time. If you are mindful of what you are talking about, how you are living, and what your intention is, you can pave a path towards consistent happiness. Forcing happiness is not the path to happiness. Many people attempt this impossible task. No self-help books, YouTube videos, or gym memberships are going to show you how to be happy. It requires a deep yoga practice that will push what you think you are capable of.


In yoga, more subtle is more advanced. Less is more. Stillness is strength. We are always unraveling and unlearning, remembering and reconnecting. Simply being in the present moment, immersed in the body’s experience cultivates Yoga. In that way, the mind is pulled out of the quicksand of the past as well as released from the free fall of the future. Our worries, anxieties, and planning all fade for a moment into the awareness of breath, into the sense of movement in that foot or in that elbow. All asana has to do is bring our attention to what’s happening here and now. Physical strength and flexibility have nothing to do with it.


Yoga is magic, but not in the way we think. The magic of yoga comes from the slightest deepening of awareness, by the smallest shifts in consciousness. There is a shift from doing to being, from identifying with the thoughts to observing them. It is completely at odds with our capitalist culture, and instead cultivates an inner revolution to transform ourselves into more discerning, sensitive, and compassionate beings, and act on that compassion.


The goal is to improve your own life and the lives of people everywhere, which fills you with compassion and happiness. The vibration is awe inspiring, something everyone should experience. You don’t need to go to India to do it. All you need to do is practice yoga in its entirety. That is the path to real happiness.



Practicing Yoga.

Yoga is actually an eight fold path, coming from the yoga sutras of Patanjali, in which he brought together what is held true for all the different kinds of yoga. Sutra translates to suture, thinking of these truths as weaving your life together in much the same way a medical suture would thread your body together.


The eight limbs of yoga are:

  1. Yamas - self control, composure

  2. Niyamas - actions and observances

  3. Asana - postures and movement (what we typically refer to as yoga)

  4. Pranayama - breathing techniques

  5. Pratyahara - detachment from the world, sense withdrawal

  6. Dharana - concentration, steadying the mind, focus

  7. Dhyana - meditation, contemplation, mindless attention

  8. Samadhi - state of unity


They are not exclusive to one another and are not practiced in a particular order. They are very intertwined and create a full connection to the Self.


As we cultivate a yoga community and bring the other limbs of yoga into practice together, we will be able to see all the beautiful benefits of a full yoga practice.


Asana

For many, this is where the Yoga practice begins. I know for me, it was a tool for recovery from a major surgical complication, an attempt to reclaim my body as to what it could and couldn't do. Waking up completely numb from the waist down after back surgery, I had to find a way to function again. That’s where yoga came in. The repetition of postures, seeing what movements I could make and not make, and mentally processing it all is a lifelong process.


I noticed that the more consistent my practice, the better I felt, mentally and physically, and as I continued I realized that it did not make one bit of difference if my body could do everything I asked of it. It did its best on a daily basis, just like we all do.


While a lot of progress can be made physically, which definitely helps, the mental and ethereal improvements in the mind and life are so profound that we become less judgmental of ourselves and others.


Showing up for your Self

Start with showing up. Come to class, move your body as little or as much as you want, then do it again tomorrow. Building consistency over time will have such a profound effect on the Self, you will be truly amazed of what you are capable of, regardless of your perceived flexibility, body type, gender, or any other aspect. You will realize that none of these things are actually You.


Yoga is, by nature, all inclusive. It doesn’t matter what postures you “can” and “can’t” do. Any and all perceived physical “limitations” do not exist in yoga. You simply are in the body you are in, breathing, on the mat and in the universe.


Move With Love

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