*(Those seemingly impossible “let’s bend our bodies into a pretzel” poses)
You may see, or may not see all over the internet, “Yoga is not just Asana” Do you ever wonder what all that is about? I used to not think anything of it. Until I decided to make an (a small, but growing) adjustment to my life and mindset. I don’t know if it was even a conscious decision or if it came with age or a point in my practice where I started to self-examine more. I’ve never been much of an inquisitive person, I pretty much would go with the flow. I just let my gut/heart lead the way. When I went to Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) I had NO CLUE what I was getting into! Instead of walking into a situation with my “eyes wide open”; I committed myself to this program with “eyes really shut”! I just let my soul guide me through the experience. And boy what an experience it was!! Talk about an eye-opening, mind-blowing experience! There really is more to yoga than just the physical stuff on the yoga mat!!
Now, first I should preface this to say that I came to yoga relatively late in life and didn’t take the plunge to become a Yoga teacher until I was past 50. So, you could say that I was deeply rooted in my ways and came to this experience with over half a century of baggage! Really old dilapidated baggage. Deeply rooted mental and physical scars (otherwise known in Yoga speak as Samskaras)
I learned a lot throughout the course. I must admit though that I was overly critical of myself and judging myself by others’ experiences (one of the things you are NOT supposed to do). There were other yoga teacher trainees that were having a lot of epiphanies and profound changes in their mindsets while going through the course. I would witness other trainee’s breakdown in tears while explaining the shift within themselves. They were having profound life changing experiences. I thought of myself as “broken” in a way because I was not having these profound “a-ha moments” like others in my class. It wasn’t until years later (now) that I am realizing (the information is still sinking in) that I perhaps already went through similar life altering experiences, but in different ways earlier in my life and that my reaction to it them was different, as we all are different. Or it very well could be that I just haven’t “arrived” to that point of self-examination yet. Time will only tell and living life is all a learning experience.
Anyway, getting back to the Yoga is not just Asana, or Yoga is not just the poses on the mat. Yoga is big and profound, or it can be subtle. Just taking a moment to smell the proverbial roses is a yogic act. Taking a few moments to take a few long slow breaths before walking into a meeting to settle your nerves is practicing yoga. Thinking before you speak and choosing your words wisely is a mindful, yogic act. I know that I am being overly simplistic, but why not just start there? It’s Just like dipping your toes into the water so to speak.
In the coming weeks, I hope to be posting more of my thought processes and learning experience in the coming weeks so perhaps lift some of the mystery of Practicing Yoga as a mid-lifer in a fixer-upper body. I would love to hear from you too. Let’s make this a dialogue.