“Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.” -Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois
As a yogi, finding my center has become one of the most important aspects of my daily life – especially in my daily practice. It begins to create a more mindful way of living and being. If I can find balance, stillness, and centering within – that balance, stillness, and centering will shine into every other part of my life. That self applied centering will also begin to attract the things my mind, body, and spirit need to help fuel it’s continual growth. Although it is easier said than done, it’s all about being a witness to the stillness while we are in poses and not trying to chase perfection in any specific pose. It’s also not about mastering a pose – it’s how present we can be in a pose.
For a beginner just getting into yoga, it can be a bit undaunting reading through yoga magazines and watching practictioners get into supremely insane poses. The ego immediately judges the pose and analyzes it. There is a feedback mechanism in our minds that says we either can or can’t get into a particular pose. I speak from experience, because that’s how I felt when I first started taking yoga classes. But through a gradual, steady and mindful practice – all of our bodies can move in the direction of any specific pose. As we begin to accept the pose for what it is – we let go of the physical and examine the mental chatter that goes on in our minds. Perhaps we can be present in a pose for only a couple of seconds, regardless – how much can we get out of our own way and our own thought patterns in a pose?
We must first get rid of the thought patterns that say: “I can’t” or “I’ll never” The words “can’t” and “never” are mental barriers. On the flipside, the word “can” is a conduit towards personal freedom and awareness. We sometimes get our minds so wrapped up in poses and wanting to get into poses that we forget about balance, stillness, awareness, and most of all – we forget to be present. There is an infinite number of ways to do any given pose and that changes everyday depending on how our bodies are feeling. That is life – relish the changes within and where we are at today, right here, right now! Think about it – how mundane would it be if we came to class everyday, did the same exact pose, we got into the same positions, without there being a change? Growth happens with change. Now apply that to our lives, if we didn’t see change throughout our day there would be no opportunity for personal growth. With that said, let the poses be our teachers. The poses act as teachers themselves and are metaphors for our lives. The pose teaches us about our own thought patterns. When we can calm the mind and find stillness, we are no longer pulled in different directions, we are centered.
The next challenge is taking what we’ve learned off the mat and finding that calmness when life provides us with other challenges. We can all do this, I know that the physical practice of yoga is not for everyone – but we can find this balance, stillness, awareness, and strength in every waking moment of our lives, whether it is sitting in traffic, waiting for clients, eating dinner, or laying in bed. Yoga is a tool that can be used anywhere. We may not have control of the outside world, but we can begin to control our minds and thoughts patterns with enough practice. By controlling the inner mind, we will see a gradual shift in the outside world. The world now becomes our own paradise to experience, because we are centered. Be amazing – you CAN do it! Namaste!