I met with a new client the other day. After talking about why she was interested in yoga and what she had going on in her body, we did a gentle practice that focused on her needs and developing the breath. Her practice felt especially quiet and attentive, and when we finished, she was glowing. She said she probably took her fullest breath ever during our time together and it felt really good…and really relaxing. Her only previous experience of yoga came at the end of the intense boot-camp type fitness class she goes to at her gym. Her teacher uses yoga-like poses to stretch and cool down. She admitted that they were really hard, and she didn’t think they worked to cool her down. And, it was never very relaxing.
Yoga has made its way into our exercise culture. We see all sorts of yoga-inspired workout routines in gyms and fitness classes or online. Just because we are stretching and throwing in a few intense pretzel-like positions into a workout doesn’t mean that we are doing yoga. What yoga has to offer is hard to experience in a five-minute cool down.
When we are present with what is happening in the body, breath, and mind, that’s yoga. If we allow ourselves to move in a way that may break from our habitual patterning, that’s yoga. When we coordinate our movements with our breathing, then we are doing yoga.
The traditional poses are only yoga if they involve our attention. When we are attentive to how we come into a yoga posture, how it feels when we are there, and how we come out of the shape, then we are practicing yoga. When movement, breath, and attention are a part of our practice, yoga gives us the means for noticing what we do and even why we do it, and then it provides the tools for making change. A few postures at the end of fitness class can provide necessary stretching and even a different way of moving the body, but the true transformative power of yoga reveals itself when we develop our breath, focus our attention, and then begin to experience those things in daily life.
I have a new website!!!! You can click on a menu tab on the blog and be carried away on a lovely internet journey or just go ahead and type in: www.AGyogatherapy.com