Why is a practice of yoga so important? Why is developing the discipline to maintain and continue your practice relevant? These questions should be asked by every person interested in finding out what yoga is all about. As we go through life we have experiences. If you are lucky these experience fill your heart with joy. If you are like say 95% of us your life is filled with ups and downs, struggles to understand the world we live in wondering if we are accepted and liked. Way too often, we are our biggest critic.
In order to answer these questions on why the practice is so important we need to get honest about why we are curious about Yoga in the first place. When I began practicing I was depressed, broken, damaged, and my mind was a whirl of how I would enact my revenge against the world for some ill perceive harms that were not even true. During my first class I emptied my head of all thought and began to tap into the power of prayer albeit in the pose of child as I was trying to regain my breath. What is funny about this story is I had been pursuing a life of peace and harmony since I was 24. It began when my life was spiralling out of control, as I started to turn it around I was introduced to a new way of living, stopping the heavy drinking, and dipping my proverbial toe into the pool of meditation and prayer. I never really trusted my own instincts or the guidance of my heart. I was trying to please others in order to be accepted or rather perceive that you liked me.
After finding yoga all of the pieces of my path began to come together like a puzzle; my teachings from studying the Course In Miracles, reading Marianne Williamson’s interpretation of this book combined with my own understanding of God created the space to trust in my inner guide or my Godlike Consciousness, all of the stories created in my head are based on fear, by trusting in the Universe or God I am able to see through that and find faith. Having finally discovered what I had been seeking all along I now had a fabulous kit of spiritual tools to help me formulate the way I was going to live my life.
I practice some form of yoga every day, it helps me stay connected to my body, grounded in my beliefs and most importantly helps me to trust that the Universe has a master plan. I also combine this with a daily meditation practice to develop this trust and as a result my life is less chaotic and I am equipped to face it head on. I should be clear that I still have episodes of anxiety and depression, but with the support of my yoga community, meditation and physical Asana, I am able to face these and create the space that allows this to move through me.
I often mention the idea of creating space – this is the effect of yoga through a practice of asana, the mind empties leaving the Yogi with the space necessary to shift the energy in his/her life to see what may be possible for you now. Yoga is a process. At first, yoga is totally new and exciting, and then the work begins; developing discipline to keep with the practice in order to create the space in your life is real work. It took me years to work through some stuff.
You hear that showing up is the hardest part. This is true but really the hardest part is admitting to yourself when you don’t want to show up, you do so anyway. Let go of the story, let go of reason; take a moment the next time you are in a packed yoga class, notice the energy, notice the feeling you have inside before and after class…then the next time you start feeling that you don’t want to go to yoga tap into the experience you noted in your psyche and head to the mat. Will this get me closer to perfection? You are already perfect. Will this save my marriage? Probably not but it will help you to be a supportive, loving ex who wants nothing more than the partner that you committed your life to, to be happy. Will yoga cure my financial difficulties? No, but you will be able to see the truth and be able to accept it.
When I fully trust that the universe has a grand plan only then can I be at peace. See you on the mat. Namaste