Thursday, March 24, 2011

What do you come to yoga for?

I love the way yoga makes me feel - I know that however I'm feeling (happy, depressed, full of energy, just pulling myself through the day..) that stepping onto the mat will make me feel even better when I step off of it an hour or so later.


I used to practice yoga because it made me strong. I started falling in love with my body - rather than shaming myself about how I looked, or judging myself about how I looked in an outfit compared to other people/pics in magazines etc. I found a thrill in my strength to move my body, to come into poses with grace and ease.  The big a-ha! moment for me was when rather than worrying about how my bum looked walking down the street in tight yoga pants, I just didn't care. I was going to class, I was in my yoga clothes, and my body was strong! 'Who cares about my thighs? Have you seen what these babies can do??' That was the overwhelming sense :)


My teachers always promised that over the years, the reasons you would keep coming back to yoga may or may not change, but the poses and the practice would definitely change. My first experience of yoga was always very strong - I needed a dynamic, moving vinyasa practice as that was the only thing that would settle my mind. I'd be so in the moment of breathing into this pose, stretching & exhaling into that pose, that my depression/ work/ 'insert other worry here' was non-present. Instead, I was present. My breath was steady. I was flowing.

As I've continued to practice over the last 15+ years, true to my teachers words, my practice has changed. Meditation is now a strong part of my practice. I love child's pose. I adore yin yoga. I still love my Vinyasa & power practices, but there is more to it than just moving and asana now.


I expect this too will change again - and for that, I'm grateful and excited. It's a never ending journey.  


So I'm inching towards the point that yoga will change - and that it may come to us in one form or another, but it is so multi-dimensional, that no part is better than others. Our body grows strong, grows old. Our mind explores, and regresses. It's only natural then that so too does our practice.  So when I have students who come to class who are convinced that if only they can get their hands to the floor in uttanasana, they'll unlock the answers.. or those who refuse to participate (and stand still) when we mix up sequencing because it's not what they want (although one would say, absolutely what they could need).. to these yogis, I try not to take it personally.


While I would love for every single practitioner to step onto the mat in order to heal / and not to hurt themself, I do have to accept and respect that we each step onto the mat for a different reason. While pushing & forcing your body into a certain pose will not create world peace, and in fact, will most likely move you away from inner peace, each journey is personal


Yogis, what makes you step onto the mat? Has your practice changed, evolved, shifted?
Thanks for your ears & your hearts :)
stella xx

1 comment:

Claudia said...

I am feeling this too, it is so multidimensional like you say, it is changing, it comes to us in diffferent ways and we come to it for different reasons... I think in the end all we want is love, peace, and happiness and health and a roof over our heads...

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