As a full-time yoga teacher and trainer, I am always thinking about how I want my students to feel and how yoga delivers such unparalleled health. The following are MY absolute essential Reasons to Recommit to Yoga.
1. You will recover from Loss and Betrayal
Let’s Face it: Grief is a part of living in a body. Learning to feel and let go is essential to our growth and happiness.
In the west, we are taught that MORE is MORE. More wealth, more health, more happiness, more clients, more likes. But as it turns out, more of everything is: Exhausting! And it keeps us from the essential act of letting some things go, die and be composted for the greater good.
Whether through each mindful exhale or the sweet release of savasana (pronounced Sha-vaa-sana) after an edgy practice the invitation to LET GO of all our preoccupations, body held tensions and “hyper-mentality” is part and parcel of time on the mat.
In our Passion for Practice Teacher Training, we do place high importance into the larger philosophical reckonings that create a sustainable surrender. We understand that only through knowledge, do we let go in trust.
For now, it will suffice to say, less is more, breath is more. Allowing your instructors to guide you in the art of letting go … might just be cathartic.
2. You will Increase your Energy
Before we walked on 2 legs we were indeed quadrupeds. Biologically we are still animals with a necessity for movement. (Not just walking forward and backward and sitting and standing BTW).
We are designed to have AS much energy as children. Can you believe it?
When we stop exploring and moving in unique and unconventional ways we damn up the subtle energetic channels of the body and deterioration of the physical stamina and range of motion happens quickly. Just like the wide range of movements children make, yoga has us moving the spine, hips, and shoulders in 6 directions.
“Civilized life” has brought us into chairs and out of our body. Yoga delivers us back to ourselves with a promise of youthful vitality if we keep up the movement! (6 days a week is a tradition.)
3. You will taste the Divine for yourself
When it comes to leaving temporal satisfaction behind and trading it in for the eternal bliss that you really are (ie. “oneness consciousness”) yoga is the only system - that has a system - for doing so.
Most desires we have are either fulfilled and replaced by others or not-fulfilled leaving us in search mode. Yoga swoops in to remind us that 1) our true desires are sacred and lead us to a life of purpose, and 2) that even those desires are a stepping stone to the real goal of human life: to self-realize. Seem like a lofty goal? It is - but it is also worth your precious life energy. Jesus proclaimed it. Buddha taught it. Rumi wrote epic poetry about the state of union experienced when we focus on what really matters. And yet, we may not believe it applies to us.
Yoga reminds us that chasing happiness outside is futile and that when we are done with that illusion, we can lean into a true yoga lifestyle that offers the well-prepared soil from where a self-realized soul (aka. a happy, peaceful, self-directed human) might actually emerge.
Which IS by my own terms - Badass.
4. You will learn to release Anxiety for good
As a teacher, if I told you all 42 poses I have in store for you before a yoga class and the anatomical and spiritual importance of these poses - You may head for the door, correct? Or worse, feel anxious about the yoga to come.
Instead, breath by breath we move through postures. By the end of class, there is an accomplishment, felt in the body.
Thinking and breathing are TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN. When we repress anything...our breath changes. Over time our breath PATTERN reflects the repression; in the form of anger, sadness, overactivity - whatever is there.
Our Yoga Practice combs through the rubble of day to day stressors and uses conscious breathing to return us to an open and receptive state of mind. In essence, we USE the postures and breath to get to the Mind.
Open and receptive thinkers are available to handle the realm of genius, pleasure, and poetry.
Tightly bound and critical thinkers make themselves habituated to stress and drama.I know because I have been both an open, creative thinker and a tightly bound, anxious thinker. #noshame
The most important piece to remember is that I am NOT the thinker. #thankgod #thankgoddess but I am the one who witnesses the whole damn thang playout. #iloveyoga
5. You will lose weight and gain strength
Last, but not least (let’s be honest) … we get fit. If you are coming to practice 6 days a week, or even 3 days a week you WILL BE:
- Moving the joints in all necessary directions for energetic health and happy anatomy.
- Compressing and releasing the organs of the body for optimal health.
- Using the musculoskeletal system to increase tone and bone density.
- Finding and strengthening core: psoas, transverse abdominis and obliques especially.
- Creating intelligent mobility and counter strength.
- Using the breath to detoxify the body (80 % of detoxification happens through respiration - NOT perspiration).
Which IS by my own terms, pretty Badass.
For ways to create a life-long yoga practice that offers all the previously mentioned benefits - consider a Passion for Practice 200 Hr Teacher Training Starting on March 9, 2018, or sign up for the LIVE 2 hr EVENT: How Yoga Really Works on Feb. 24th 2018.
WRITTEN BY JENNA MCDONALD
Jenna holds a 200 hr E-RYT with Yoga Alliance and has been practicing for 15 years and teaching in the US and Abroad since 2010. She holds a BA in Eastern Philosophy and Indigenous Education, but her true yoga lineage comes through 4 + years of study at Arsha Vidya Gurukulam with traditional East Indian teachers. As a modern mother, steeped in Ancient Traditions - she strives to offer both a challenging practice & an invitation to step into altered states of consciousness through sadhana (practice with the purpose of liberation).