Saturday, June 22, 2013

What Is Yoga?

Our first assignment for teacher training (or TT as I will inevitably start calling it) was to write a little essay with the prompt: what is yoga and why do you practice yoga?

This is what I turned in.

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self. 
-The Bhagavad Gita

Yoga is so many things. In its simplest form, yoga is a physical way to express love. Love for oneself, one's fellow human beings and for the world outside one's own experience. Too, yoga is playfulness and passion and peace, it's a practice of patience and positivity. But to me, above all else, yoga is about exploration---exploration of yourself and exploration of your universe. Throughout the time I've spent practicing yoga, I've found out more about who I am than I've learned in the rest of my years on this earth combined, and I know through continued exploration I will come to learn far more about my authentic self than I ever thought possible. That's what yoga offers---the chance to be open to what's around us and inside us, and open to change. 

I spent my childhood and the beginning years of my adult life hating exercise and hating my body. Anything physical was stressful for me, a catalyst for negative thoughts like “why am I not good enough, fast enough, strong enough?” I never found any athletic activity that spoke to me, that gave me any peace or joy or made me feel truly connected with my body, and as a result I was a very unhealthy and unhappy person. When I first truly discovered yoga at age twenty one (though I had experimented with it prior to then), I finally realized there was a way to use my body that didn't involve pushing it, or pulling it, or forcing it to do something it didn't want to do. 

Once I found yoga, it opened up an entire new world to me---the world of my own body and mind. Through yoga, I can explore my fears and hesitations, confront my own ego, and find answers. 

Something clicked for me when I tried my first CorePower class in January 2012, and since then yoga has become like a kind of therapy to me. Yoga is the tool I use to live my life as authentically, healthfully and happily as I can. Through my sun salutations I explore who I am and what my body and brain need---peace, openness, and gentleness. Yoga is the journey I am on to find myself.