Namaste Right Here:
“Yoga is, first and foremost, a science of self-realization. Its main concern is spiritual practice, mainly through meditation, to take us beyond the sorrow and ignorance in the world. It teaches us how to love from our outer bodily and ego-bound identity reaching towards our immortal self that dwells within the heart. Yoga provides the key to all spiritual development, which in Vedic search means gaining knowledge of our true nature beyond time, space, death, and suffering.” —Yoga and Ayurveda by David Frowley
If you are a yoga practitioner you will appreciate David’s words here. Western or American Yoga has become a whole new entity of its own unfortunately. It comes packaged in cute head bands and lulu lemon or Victoria secret yoga pants and sexy sports bras. I must even admit I started my yoga practice as a form of fitness and by all means it is a physical task. I have always been a competitive person. I thought yoga was perfect for me with my gymnastics background, and I wasn’t mistaken…BUT yoga became so much more for me and I needed it more than I could have ever imagined. The “self-knowledge” part of yoga I found through my personal practice is why I teach and what I hope to share with those around me, on and off the mat.
The asana or physical postures of yoga are what most people think of when they hear the word yoga right? Some skinny girl with perfect abs standing on her head…Yoga actually means to yoke or unite the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga in fact has eight limbs but we usually are familiar with only two of them; the physical practice (asana) and the breathing (pranayama). The original eight limbs are as follows and would traditionally be applied in order:
1. Yama- moral codes
2. Niyama- self-purification and study
3. Asana- posture
4. Pranayama- breath control
5. Pratyahara- sense control
6. Dharana- concentration
7. Dhyana- meditation
8. Samadhi- contemplation and enlightenment
For me, I definitely started with a physical practice and developed over time, a more profound understanding of myself internally. I started to become more aware of my own body and mind. Especially how I react to certain things I eat, times I sleep, people I surround myself with and how they make me feel. I started to analyze my reactions to situations and in turn began to better understand the things in my life that were important. Yoga and meditation over time help to release that ego and that attachment to this physical world and all the objects in it. Yoga helped me slow down in this crazy stimulant driven world and start to stay still long enough to hear and feel what my heart and body are asking of me!