So when does the practice of yoga begin and when does it end? Today in our western culture you walk into the yoga center, the community center or the gym and participate for an hour or so practice. Within this hour a lot can shift. Opening the body, stretching the muscles, relieving some pain and hopefully calming the mind and nervous system. But what happens after the class is complete and everyone says “namaste”? Do you bring the glistening beads of presence, focus and deep listening home with your sweaty tank top? Or do they get mopped up and forgotten about until the next workout?
What I am leading to here is the question of the efficacy of your yoga practice. I know, it is an strange topic to inquire and may not be a natural process for you. However strange it may seem, it can be very helpful to inquire about the choices you make and if they are supporting you on your journey. Where is your practice supporting you on your path? How is it supporting you? Are there still questions about how your practice can support you more? These are some of the questions I began to encounter on my path to wellness.
I began my wellness journey after becoming ill on a vacation, I think they call it “Bali belly”. I was ill for about two months, nothing was helping and I began my exploration into how I could help myself. One thing led to another, and later I found “Yoga for Surfers” with Peggy Hall. Those series of dvd’s were great, teaching me the fundamentals for building strength and balance to compliment my surfing. After years of hanging out with Peggy I grabbed my yoga mat, my board shorts and began to enter the yoga studio scene. I don’t know if it is the fancy pants or the nonslip toe socks, but the group setting was a powerful place for me to go much deeper than stretching my hamstrings. Come to find out, this is the power of the sangha. The sangha is the community gathered for the purpose of spiritual development. Little did I know that my practice was opening up another world of development that would take years to identify and longer to appreciate.
The sangha amplifies and reflects what it is I am working on, so I learned. Each time I showed up ready to challenge what I thought was possible in my body my internal dialogue changed for what I believed to be possible in my mind. So then how was I to bring this practice to help the other areas of my life, my work and my tribe?
The not so sweaty yoga
It was ayurveda that stoked the fire in my practice again. But not just the practice of tightening up my body, it was the practice of tightening up my lifestyle. Ayurveda is the sister science of yoga. The bridge to bring your yoga practice out of the studio and into every part of your life.
Ayurveda is the vedic system designed around supporting your physical vitality. Yoga is the systematic practice for spiritual development. Ayurveda is designed to help you maintain the vital health through dinacharya (daily routine to maintain health) and yoga balances out the mind through the movement of prana through breath, movement and attention. It made so much sense to me.
It was through Ayurveda that I began to align my actions and refine my habits. This alignment continues to deepen, continues to support my practice and deeply supports my life. This support is the foundation from where I listen deeply for the answers to the questions I ask.
So where does the practice really begin? It begins with cultivating an intentional mindset to evaluate the tendencies of the mind. This can be brought to any activity you do throughout the day and in my experience, naturally happens with a long time commitment to the practice. It is not so much about the posture, which does have it’s beneficial affects on your body, but it is about the cultivation of attention while moving the prana within the posture. This is done with breath and attention.
The yoga path is a personal exploration. During this exploration things shift and you just plain and simply change. I believe anything can become your yoga practice. Watering the garden, washing the dishes, even brushing your teeth. The more you train the mind to enter a task with the intention to cultivate presence and awareness, it doesn’t matter if it is warrior two, pumping gas or sitting on the toilet. This naturally begins to extend into all of your activities.
Do you have a regular yoga practice? Do you have a meditation practice? Are you interested in implementing one or both into your day but don’t where to start or how to do it? Let me know, I’d love to answer any questions you may have or point you in a direction for you to find the answers. Connect with me by clicking the button below!
Much love to you, and thank you for reading.