My Introduction to Yoga
I’ve been practicing yoga on and off for the past 10 years or so. I attended my first yoga class with my sister, who was into Bikram Yoga at the time. He was not plagued by scandal then as he is now.
Although practicing it for the first time, I was no stranger to yoga, as my grandparents practiced Bikram yoga with Bikram himself in the late 80s in Hollywood. I remember as a child being very confused as to why my grandfather had doubled his home office into his yoga room, he installed a mirror and cranked up his floor heaters. I also remember my mother doing her morning stretches and throwing in yoga poses, but I just wasn’t curious enough, until my sister invited to me this yoga class in Silver Lake, CA. As soon as I walked through the door to the room where we would be practicing, it was blazing hot! I was thinking, how am I going to make it through 90 minutes of this! I thought I had entered hell, but I surprised myself. As time went on I got used to the heat, and I seemed to be making my way into at least half of the poses. I felt good afterwords!
Developing My Yoga Practice
I started going to classes in and around DC, and growing my practice. Soon, going to classes became a bit too time consuming, rushing after work, fighting work traffic or trying to find a parking space began to cut into why I was practicing yoga in the first place. So, began my home practice with Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. I love her videos still! All the benefits of yoga at home was great, but after a while of course I was craving to go deeper and connect with in person instruction, which led me to enrolling in a yoga teacher training! I started in December 2016, and boy am I going deeper, not only deeper into learning the asanas (poses) but also deeper into yogic philosophy which is meant to unite or join mind, body and spirit. I thought I always grasped the mental benefits of yoga, but the philosophy behind it is really a guide for how to be present, aware, openhearted and flexible not only on the mat but in our lives. It’s been enlightening thus far integrating these understandings into my practice and my life, and I would like to share my journey with you!
Going Beyond the Poses
I will be exploring sutras or short aphorisms that provides a guide for living from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali as it has so many applications to life and how we live it. There’s 195 sutras that are like quick tips on how to live more consciously. No matter what your religious orientation is, yoga can help expand your awareness of the mind, body and spirit. I will be reflecting on a sutra once a week that speaks to me and my work with clients that I see.
If you’re down for some self-reflection, come along for the journey!
1.2 Yoga is the cessation [of identifying with] the fluctuations [arising within] consciousness.
The meaning of ‘yoga’ is to unify or join together the mind, body and spirit. Many clients come to me feeling unhappy about the fact that they are not where they thought they would be at this time in their lives. Oftentimes, we identify with what we are not, instead of who we are, leaving us stuck and disconnected from ourselves. Maybe you thought you would be married by 25 or have a successful career, and now scrolling through your social media you become depressed as you watch your friends and acquaintances get engaged and land awesome jobs. And, so you might begin identifying with the thought that you’re going to be single forever or your current job is nothing to be proud of. You get down on yourself, wondering why you don’t have those things. The focus turns to all the things you’re not or don’t have versus all things you are and do have.
Practice: As various disturbing thoughts, emotions, or sensations arise, ask the question: “Could I let go?” Cultivate detachment towards them.
Pay attention to what thoughts, emotions or sensations arise when you identify with the fluctuations. See if you can simply acknowledge the thoughts, emotions, or sensations that do arise, be curious about them (i.e., what is this bringing up for me?) and ask yourself, “Could I let go?”
Mantras: I celebrate/honor/value who I am. I am learning to cherish myself. I am not my thoughts or emotions.
Intentions: I will listen to and honor my needs. I will not busy myself with distractions.
Feel free to create your own mantras and intentions to make this a truly personal experience!