Friday, May 27, 2011

What Yoga Means to Me

This is an excerpt of something I wrote as a part of my 500hr. teacher training program.

Yoga for me has become a life style. Yoga is a state of being. Yoga is union; of breath, body, mind, heart and subsequently, intention, thought, words and action.

Yoga is a sign post that points curiously in the direction of that which can only be explained through rudamentary words--our connection to the Universe, our higher Self. Yoga is awareness of this Self. Yoga is knowing that you are never alone. Yoga is mystery, trust and cosmic belly laughs. Yoga re-frames existence on Earth. Yoga untangles the ego, invites space, and facilitates understanding. Yoga is letting go. Yoga is the acceptance of what is. Yoga unfolds. Yoga changes. Beyond the words, the fear, the grasping, the intellect-yoga is all there is.

On my journey this time around I have peered narrowly, poked at, ran and hidden from yoga. Once I even wrapped my legs and arms around the sign post and held on for dear life, convinced that I had found the Answer to all of life's conundrums. I held on so tightly I was not able to see what the sign was pointing to. Until I did.

My practice, life, inquiry and teaching have all changed and evolved as my relationship with that sign post has changed and evolved; becoming something fluid and expansive rather than something based on false certainty, intellectual and physical prowess and a fundamentalist approach to food, sex and clothing (even though those first yoga experiences all served me perfectly in their own way.)

I experience yoga as a practice but I now see that it is not the practice, it is what the practice allows for. I teach yoga as a practice to others, allowing them to be curious about their own journey, their own body-if that should be the place they start. I feel that the best thing that I can do for myself and for students is to continue to arouse a sense of curiosity, to facilitate creating ease and stability in the body, and to lead by example using my experiences (good and bad) via stories and blogging.

In that sense, living this life has become both an inquiry and a practice. What I grip in my body is what I grip in my life. Where there is ease in my body, there is ease in my existence. As within, so without, as above, so below. The living, the inquiry, the practice and the teaching are not separate but connected and organic; on this journey I have also surrendered, wept, and stilled myself in that very union.

At this place on my path I feel propelled forward by something that I cannot explain and as I let go more and more into that flow, amazing things happen and I am able to see more clearly the entanglements that cloud, condemn, judge and suffer. One leads to another, leads to the next, ad infinitum. I remain curious about this as well, and can only imagine where it will go.

There is a definitive line drawn down the last few years of my life; the time before I knew yoga, and now-the place where yoga is everything and nothing all at once. Living and practicing the inquiry has changed my life, my relationships, my family, the way I interact with and experience my world. I remain committed to sharing this with others and I remain committed to looking beyond the sign post with an open heart.


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