Monday, March 23, 2015

Yoga is not just stretching!

Oh my goodness, the more I learn the more I realize how little I know. In all aspects of my life, but right now specifically about Yoga.

Yoga involves a lot of stretching, but it is not just about flexibility. Yoga involves strength, but it's not just a workout. Yoga involves breath work, relaxation, learning to be present, compassion for self and others, awareness, and so much more.

I recently read an article by Ganga White, "Standing Upon the Shoulders of the Past". One paragraph stood out to me. Ganga says:

One of the more valuable things I've learned is to listen to and trust is the intelligence of the body. After all it is millions of years old, which give it seniority to tradition! When I have been climbing mountains...I adjust my Yoga to a softer and more stretching practice which balances the tightening. If the body has been more sedentary I find that a more flowing, vigorous asana practice seems to "happen". There can be many ways to practice asana....

I'm learning BodhiFlow, an energizing evolution of Yoga Vinyasa; BodhiYin, a yummy healing and restorative practice; and soon BodhiSpin, a gentle blend of Kundalini style yoga. Along with Pranayama (breath practice) and Meditation. A grand adventure at Bodhi Yoga.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Becoming Ourselves

As part of my Yoga Training at Bodhi Yoga, I recently read a wonderful and thought provoking article, Yoga as Self-Transformation, by Joel Kramer. Yoga Journal, May/June 1980. 

Joel talks about how "for thousands of years yoga has been a tool to open the mind and body, bringing transformation". (I love moments of clarity that bring pure enlightment, and there are so many thoughts in this article that produced "Ahas" for me). He points out that "the transformation that yoga brings makes you more yourself and opens you up to loving with greater depth". 

I have been thinking about this. Have you noticed that we often refer to babies as being "perfect"? We instinctively know that they come into this world in purity and perfection, "trailing clouds of glory" as William Wordsworth describes in Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Chhildhood.  Children see life, nature, others, through pure eyes that still hold the magic of understanding their own divinity. But life happens, and we forget. We become jaded, burdened and hardened, our cares take up all our bandwidth and we no longer notice the beauty and magic of life.  How wonderful to have the yoga path to help us shed what we don't need and become more ourselves, to wake up once again to the magic of life and be able to enjoy it!

Then automatically we love with greater depth, because the more we realize our divinity, the more we recognize it in others. But that's a topic for another day.