There's been alot of activity in the yoga world this week - alot of back & forth about yoga & whether or not it's good for you. Personally, my life is better with yoga in it. Every time I practice yoga, I feel better & I am grateful that the Universe brought this practice into my life.
If you've read my blog before, you know I have been teaching heated power yoga for more than 10 years & have my own studio, Sanctuary Power Yoga. I have my 200 hour certification through Yoga Alliance & have taught with & learned from, many gifted, talented teachers.
Part of what I teach is asana - physical poses. It's these physical posesthat attracts so many people in our culture. Part of the attraction is the movement - the vinyasa, the flow. Not many of us are ready to sit down & meditate for 60 or 90 minutes. Part of the attraction is the prospect of losing weight, getting stronger, more physically fit. I believe that for every person who comes in the door, there's a distinct, special reason that brings them to the practice. I also believe that whatever the reason, at the heart of that reason is self-care. It may not manifest as that initially, but I believe that if you scratch beneath the surface of weight loss or "just looking better" you find that people want to feel better. Feel better about themselves & who they are.
Unfortunately, in many cases we've been conditioned to do more, push harder, "feel the burn". And that can lead to injury. Not just when practicing asana, but when doing anything. Although you're pushing yourself physically, there's a real disconnect from your physical body. You're listening to your ego & voices from the past (and present) telling you that you're good enough, that you shouldn't "wimp out". You're not listening to your body...or your heart...or your spirit. And you wind up beating yourself up. And it doesn't feel good on so many levels.
I said that part of what I teach is asana. The other part of what I teach is yoga. That's not to say that asana, the physical piece, isn't yoga, but it's only a small part of yoga. So yes, I teach asana. But as I teach that, I also teach about the other pieces of yoga. I teach self-care - listening to your body, your heart & spirit - and learning to trust yourself. I teach breathing (pranayama), I teach compassion, love & non-violence (yamas), contentment (niyamas), focus (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and the possibility of samadhi.
To an outsider (and sometimes to a new student) it may look & feel like I'm just teaching a physical workout. Squats, lunges, pushups. But that's only a part of it. I'm teaching yoga - I'm teaching to a person's whole being. From my whole being. I'm teaching to their body, their mind, their heart & their spirit. And I'm asking them to feel connected to all that. I'm asking them to feel their littlest toe on the ground. And their heart swelling to the sky. In this moment.
That's integration, union - all the pieces of yourself uniting & becoming whole again. That union is yoga. It feels good. And that has to be good for you.
You can now find my blog at the Register Citizen: http:http://www.registercitizen.com/blogs/life/