I've been a "movement junkie" for a long time. Not just yoga, I love dancing, swimming, walking/hiking, most water sports, volleyball, soccer, tennis and the list goes on. The thing is, yoga has been the only constant in my life. It's the one movement practice that I come back to, the practice that seems to speak to what I need as I swivel along with the curves of life. In a way you could say Yoga is the only sustainable practice (maybe you would call it a "work out") out there.
So let's talk for a moment on what makes yoga sustainable?
In modern day yoga there's a lot of emphasis on "Hatha Yoga" the yoga of asana (postures). For good reason, us North American's tend to lead more dormant lifestyles, so healthy movement is necessary for a vibrant body. Along with addressing the body's needs, yoga encourages an inquiry of the mind and the inner dialogues that occur. Offering practices that allow us to filter the conversations and begin to "slow the fluctuations of the mind" in order to experience more space/time (this is done through different meditation techniques). Within that space and time you fully recognize your SELF. So yoga is also a practice of Self recognition. In the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is said to be "skill in action", which allows us to practice yoga through conscious awareness of that in which we are doing, like tending to a child or washing the dishes. So really yoga happens on and off a sticky mat.
Because of yoga's vastness, there are many practices or rituals within these philosophies that help us in experiencing yoga's Grace. To mention a few, there's bhakti yoga, where you're fostering love and surrendering to God, through chanting and prayer invocations. There's Karma Yoga, where selfless service is the focus. There's jnana yoga where knowledge is obtained as a way to understanding the divine consciousness that pulses within our veins.
So Yoga is devotion. Yoga is discipline.
Yoga is more than we perceive.
Yoga grows with you, allowing you to pull on it's threads whenever you need to and weave the cloth that will keep you warm, steady your heart or still your mind. Your yoga is always there for you. So may you lean into your practices today. Acknowledge the power within your dedication and graciously accept the Yoga you're choosing today, even if it's different than the yoga you did yesterday or looks different than the person next to you at your local studio. Your yoga lives within you.
With you on this path,