The other day I was talking to a friend about our upcoming Spring Yoga Workshop in Galashiels, Scotland and was telling him that the workshop would involve Mantras, Mudras, Pranayama, Meditation… He said to me “I just do Yoga, I don’t do all that other stuff…”.
Wait a minute! Didn’t he know that the practice of asanas (the postures we normally do in yoga classes) are only a tiny part of what “yoga” really is?! I was dazzled… And in a way a little bit sad. Are we Yoga teachers failing on passing on the full potential of yoga? Are we becoming so focused on the physical aspect and forgetting the transformative power that one can harness through the practice of yoga as a whole?
In the words of someone wiser than me: “Derived from the Sanskrit word yuj, Yoga means union of the individual consciousness or soul with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit. Yoga is a 5000 year old Indian body of knowledge. Though many think of yoga only as a physical exercise where people twist, turn, stretch, and breathe in the most complex ways, these are actually only the most superficial aspect of this profound science of unfolding the infinite potentials of the human mind and soul.
The science of Yoga imbibe itself the complete essence of the Way of Life, including – Gyan Yoga or philosophy, Bhakti Yoga or path of devotional bliss, Karma Yoga or path of blissful action, and Raja Yoga or path of mind control. Raja Yoga is further divided into eight parts. At the heart of the Raja Yoga system, balancing and unifying these various approaches, is the practice of Yoga Asana.” (http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/yoga)
When I find myself in these types of situations I really feel the call to try and deliver the most I can to my students, I feel the necessity to keep on studying, learning and living yoga so I can lead by example, teach from my heart, and really create an impact in my students lives. Yoga shouldn’t stay on the mat… It is so much more! It creates a major impact in my life, in my relationships, in the way I am. By focusing on all of the aspects of yoga we can peal the layers of our lives and deepen our experience! Don’t get me wrong – I love my asana practice and it was because of the asanas that I began this journey in the first place… But I recognize that asana is the first step along a long path. Let’s not get stuck on the first step!
I remember a few years ago listening to a yoga teacher saying “I am not one of these yogis“, she basically taught asanas and that was it. At that moment I thought to myself “I am one of those yogis, and I want more!”. If you are a yoga student, make sure that your teacher is walking the path, that he/she understands what yoga really can offer and that they believe in the transformative power of yoga. If you are a teacher keep pushing yourself! Let’s walk the journey together – read, research, learn and incorporate the yoga philosophy into your practice and into your life and watch the magic happen! 🙂
Always remember… Your life is in your hands, you have the power to change it, you are the one who is able to transform it and yoga has great tools to help you to do that!