I have been practicing yoga for almost a decade now. I started while my son was a baby, learning from a half hour TV show (Wai Lana Yoga). I slowly developed a heart for the practice. Not only for the poses, but for the truer and deeper reason, the spiritual side of it. It’s often misunderstood, thought of as an exercise program for flexible people. I hear many times that people “would love to try it, but I’m just not that flexible.” And I try to explain, that for one, then it would be perfect for you if that (more flexibility) is what you want to achieve. But I also try my hardest to convey that while the poses are a huge part of the practice, it is the union of my heart, my mind, my spirit and my body that I yield from it. Loving more deeply, becoming more grateful, patience sprouting here and there from an impatient field, seeing God in everything, feeling The Beloved in every cell of my body. Little did I know that yoga would not only give me a fit and flexible body, but it would give me a fit and flexible heart.
For me, I liken it to going to church. I pray on the mat, not in the conventional way, but with emotion and focus. A deeper understanding of how my body moves, my mind becomes still, my breath floods into every tributary of my body. Sometimes it is fiery, the heat I build up burns away all the bullshit of the day. The ash blows away on my exhalation and many times I feel I can see more clearly the true importance of this existence. Sometimes it is a passionate practice. My poses are defined and beautiful, I feel lovely and sexy. My energy crackles, I exude ardour. There are practices while I feel impatient, when I would rather tackle the laundry then lie in savasana, and I realise that I need to lie in savasana more than I need to fold t-shirts and jeans because the universe is gently reminding me of gratitude and humbleness. I practice when I am sad or mad or grieving, tears bathe my face and drip onto my mat, the emotion is set loose and free, and I feel baptized and cleansed.
So you see, yoga for me, and for many others is much more than about being bendy. It is the yoke of our entire being. It is the root to the earth and the channel to the heavens.