– By Erin Bhaskar
“finally achieved the posture i’ve been working hard at”
“my goal is to get into the pretzel”
“today I managed to get my head between my legs” in: insert complicated pose name.
“I’ve reached level 3 at such and such yoga place/training/studio”.
“ I did a 4-hr yoga workout”.
“sweated up a storm in Yoga”
and the latest
“I got the downward dog badge at 4sq”
These sum up most of the mindset and experiences of people doing Yoga out there in the Universe. More and more on twitter, facebook and blogs, as I am reading people’s experiences on Yoga, I see that they have one way of gauging if their practice is helping them. External gauges, to put it politely. “Delusional” to put it correctly.
If all you are getting from your practice is more of the same that’s going on outside in life, then you are not doing Yoga. “More of the same” meaning focusing on the external. How far can I go? How much can I achieve? Like: How far can I bend? Is my heart rate up? Am I getting a Yoga workout? The last one is the most egregious of them all. A yoga cardio
Are you kidding me? Come on guys. Who is teaching this stuff? This is not Yoga. You are doing something that is using the word Yoga and yoga poses but it’s not Yoga. Please be clear on that.
Which means, sadly, that you are missing out on something incredible. I mean there’s a reason there’s all this fuss about this thing called “Yoga”.
So what is it in reality?
Before I go on let me just add that and as I write I can see how ridiculous this question is, this asking yourself, if you are doing Yoga. Points to the nature of the world. People out to make money, not fully knowledgeable, catching hold of the latest trend just to be part of it. Sometimes with the best of intentions, especially in this field. That’s even sadder. The best intentioned are doing the most harm in some ways. As http://torontobodymind.ca/blogs/krista-weger/your-yoga-teacher-qualified-3-ways-put-your-teacher-test puts it , “yoga teacher training programs are everywhere: in studios, on international retreats, and online! But as not all training programs are created equal, neither, of course, are yoga teachers, So how do you know what exactly it is that you’re getting when you register for Yoga 101?”
So are doing a Yoga practice?
Are you getting better and better at achieving the pose as it is shown in the book?
Are you getting more flexible.
Are you able to endure Yoga for a longer time period?
WRONG questions to ask. That is NOT yoga. Go to the gym and train with a personal torturer instead.
Yoga is not torture. Don’t bring your usual mindset to the practice of yoga. If you are adapting your yoga to your mindset then it’s not Yoga. Yoga should be causing an adaptation in your mindset.
When doing Yoga there are a few intentions set forth in the Yogasutras that you can bring to mind. The point is yoga. Which means to link. Linking the mind, body, breath. Bringing the whole system in harmony. When you focus inwards you will automatically go further in the poses. The natural byproducts can be measured with some of these questions: Are you changing on the inside? Are you becoming more kind? Patient? Loving? Accepting? Energetic? Enthusiastic? Are you finding new talents emerging within you? Are you feeling beautiful. Not LOOKING beautiful according to the external standards on the cover pages of Vogue or Vanity Fair. Are things bothering you less? Then you are doing Yoga. Are your eating habits changing without effort? Are you needing less sleep? Then you are doing yoga?
Along with these inner changes the by products will be all those external things mentioned above – but you won’t care anyway cause you’ll be feeling so blissed and blessed. But you need the right teacher for that.
Last but not least, here’s a blog by Julia at the Satori Yoga Studio in Canada. One intelligent blog. Must be one hell of a teacher. Find teachers like her if you can. “When it comes to Yoga, though, we so easily trade the potential depth of our practice for the shell of purely physical encounter. We discount the richness of the 5,000-year-old science and philosophy down to the perfect view from the studio, hard wood floors, tight Lulu Lemon pants or flawless bodies, robbing ourselves of the beauty, complexity of experience and incredible life lessons yoga practice can deliver.
Masterfully designed yoga class, just like the well-written book or the performance of the art masters, delivers an organic flow, a sense of natural unfoldment and intimacy with yourself, joy, liveliness and ease. It goes far beyond stretching and strengthening the major muscle groups. It clears the emotional static and mental fuzz that disconnects us from the sparkle of our spiritual essence. It reminds us that even in the out – of – control whirlwind of our every day life, peace and stillness are only a thought away. Excavating the debris of old believes and movement patterns, it inspires us to reach to the heights of our human potential.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
As always, tweet these people @yogatailor and they’ll pass on your questions and comments to me.
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