Yoga on My Mind

Deep Breath. I've been practicing hot yoga off and on (more off, than on, really) for the last 3 years.  I can still remember the first time I came out of a class...I felt completely peaceful and at ease.  I was relaxed and energized at the same time.  My mind was clear, and my body was elated!

Due to daily commitments and pressures, yoga has come and gone in my life.  But thankfully, the results are always the same - inner peace and outer strength.

As of today, I have completed 3 days straight of my yoga practice.  To some, this probably doesn't sound like much, but that's the most consistency I've ever experience!  I feel so safe in the probably sounds cheesy, but I know that I'm there for myself and the only person I have to please is me.

Yesterday I met with Lisa Whitford, co-owner, studio director, and teacher of Moksha Yoga Calgary.  When I originally talked to her about spending time with the studio as part of my OWJ program, she was immediately interested.  Lisa has been teaching for about 8 years, and originally got into yoga because of some discomfort she was experiencing with her back.  Talking with Lisa is calming in and of itself.  She has a lot of insight into the whole crazy-yoga-trend, and hasn't let herself forget why she came to practice in the first place.

Personally - I'm kind of enjoying using the term 'practice.'  To me it means that yoga is always a work-in-progress - you're not some 'professional' yogi who never makes a mistake, you're growing and trying new things in order to get better at it.  I've never used the term before, but I love the way it applies.

One of the first points Lisa made about yoga, is that it's not just about the physical state of the postures.  She explained that there's a certain grace needed to physically transition through the postures, and that one of our goals should be to transfer that grace off of our yoga mat, and into our daily lives.

This makes so much sense. It takes concentration and guts to get into (and then hold?!) some of the positions yoga teaches.  If you can perform these postures without giving up, without complaining, and with a sense of determination - all the while being realistic and honest with yourself and your limitations - you have practiced with grace.

"It's not true until it's true for you." - Lisa Whitford, Moksha Yoga Calgary

When Lisa made this point, she was talking about yoga and the different variations and definitions it has grown into: Moksha, Bikram, Ashtanga, Hatha, Anusara, etc., are all different forms of yoga practice.  But no matter what you call it, or what postures you assume, the purpose of these variations remains the same: to unite the body and the mind.

The term 'yoga' roughly translates as 'yoke' or 'union.'  The Yoga Journal notes that the purpose of yoga is to,

"...strengthen the body, to bring flexibility not only to the spine, but to the mind, and to calm the nervous system and quiet the mind enough to connect the practitioner more deeply to his or her spiritual center."

Lisa's original statement, however, really applies to the One Week Job Program: "It's not true until it's true for you."  Have you been forcing yourself into a career that you're not totally sure of?  Do you feel pressure to please others in regards to your job description, as opposed to yourself?  Have you been selling yourself short?  What it really comes down to, is that if you don't believe in what you're doing, why are you doing it?!

I've personally struggled with my own lack of direction, and in the end, you need to do what makes you happy.  It seems like an obvious point to make, but from my conversations with others - it's not always the case.

What's your yoga? What unites your body with your mind?  Is it running? Making music? Writing? Driving a combine?!  Whatever it is, embrace it!

I am absolutely embracing this week of yoga - and am really thinking that if I had the opportunity to do it full time, it would be an amazing experience.  I owe it to my body, and my mind could definitely use some conditioning as well...  Maybe there should be a OWJ devoted especially to learning about yourself through yoga...thoughts?!

Thanks for sharing this experience with me...

Namaste - the light in me, honours the light in you!

- Amanda