Tuesday, April 21, 2009

heart and soul of yoga

This afternoon I subbed a yoga class and after class one of the participants came to talk with me. Essentially, she said she had been looking for a yoga class for a while that was athletically challenging but also had a soulful feel. She then said today's class had both. (At this point, my ego did a little cartwheel in excitement). You see, this is my intention for every class I instruct. I hope the participants feel challenged and like they are getting an athletic experience while at the same time they are also experiencing the heart and soul of yoga. My intention is that the physical aspect of yoga helps them off the mat in their daily life. Yoga postures really help with functional fitness. When I'm 90 years old, I hope to still be able to bend over and pick something up off the floor or tie my shoes. My intention is also that the soulful aspect of yoga helps people off the mat in their daily life. In my mind, without the soul aspects, it doesn't really matter how functionally fit we are.

I was thinking about this as I left the gym, and started wondering how I could go about teaching the soul aspects of yoga to other instructors. (Someday I intend to lead teacher trainings. The mid-west is definitely lacking them.) I do believe part of it comes from study of yoga philosophy, but I also think there is more to it than that. You cannot just study it, you have to internalize it, believe it, and do your best to live it. (And just as a side note, I do not consider yoga a religion. I believe whatever religious beliefs you have, yoga can be easily integrated into them and help you live a more loving life.)

Here are some of my yogathoughts & beliefs that express the heart and soul of yoga:

  • We are spiritual beings living a human life.

  • We are full and whole and well and nothing is lacking in us.

  • We are love.

  • We can be in the midst of challenge and still be relaxed, calm, and peaceful.

  • We are connected: What we take from others, we take from ourselves. What we give to others, we also receive.

  • We can and must shed our labels (wife, mother, sister, daughter, husband, father, son, student, teacher, lawyer, etc.) regularly and get in touch with our truest selves.

  • We can accept ourselves just as we are and trust life. And with this acceptance and trust, growth always follows.



(photo by another story on http://www.flickr.com/)


Grace said...

I also enjoy a class that has a good balance of phyiscally challenging and spiritually uplifting. Just went to a class like that last night. Maybe because we sit so much these days we need to have a movement aspect to a practice to connect with ourselves on a deeper level.

Yogadiva said...

Grace--that's a very good point. I agree movement is even more important these days with all the sitting we do!

Thanks for visiting!


Melita said...

i wish we were in the same area, i'd love to take a yoga class with you.

happy earth day!

Yogadiva said...

Thanks, Melita. Happy Earth Day to you, too!


karmacoy said...

This is very much my goal as a faciltator of yoga as well. I like what you had to say about your beliefs, all very validating to my own!!