My early years as a yogi were spent practicing yoga for fitness’ sake, what Jules Febre calls fitness asana.
I liked that calm, relaxed feeling I had after, but let’s face it, I was going for the toned arms and tight abs.
Not so much anymore. Over the past several years, my practice has evolved.
For me, now, yoga is part of my spiritual practice. Up there with healthy eating and sleep. I’ve recognized that I need it in my life and without that connection to Spirit/God/Universe, my life feels off balance and I get disconnected from me, my center, my source.
After a multi-week hiatus from yoga — which I’ll blame on half marathon training — I had a realization which I posted on my Facebook Page. This sentiment sums up exactly what yoga is and means for me:
“I was reminded today of the importance of self connection and slowing down. I’ve been spread very thin lately and pushing myself both in my business and physically as I train for a half marathon. I’ve been feeling ungrounded, anxious and unsupported. Coincidentally, I haven’t been to a yoga class in weeks. Intuitively I knew I needed to get to my mat. My body and mind told me so. The moment I hit the mat and set an intention for self acceptance, everything I needed appeared. It was all right there in front of me, inside of me. It always was. I just needed to re-connect with it.”
The energy at the Yoga Journal Conference was like a breath of fresh air. I had the opportunity to practice with teachers and yoga greats I wouldn’t normally encounter in my day to day practice. I was able to deepen and renew my appreciation for my practice which felt good as I reset my body for spring.
Two of the workshops I took reinforced that yoga is many things and extends far beyond great arms and a tight tush.
How Yoga Empowers Us with Desiree Rumbaugh
“Whatever the present gives you, act as if you’ve chosen it.” – Eckhart Tolle via Desiree Rumbaugh
Most women don’t trust their upper body strength in yoga, yet they should. It plays out most often in jump backs and arm balances.
Desiree challenged us all as yoga practitioners to take our practice off the mat and into life.
Detox Flow Yoga with Seane Corn
As you know, I’m big on detoxing with whole foods and using other methods like yoga. One of the reasons I love yoga is because I leave feeling so light and refreshed. There’s some deep cleansing going on in those poses but this extends beyond the physical body to the emotional and spiritual too.
“Everything we do is motivated by an intention. We use food, sex, shopping and other addictions to cover emotions. It’s not always what we’re eating, but what’s eating us.” — Seane Corn
Seane reinforced that a detox is not a diet. We detox to be present so we can love and be loved. Detoxing creates vulnerability, which takes us out of our heads and into our hearts making us present to our emotions.
After a series of sun salutes, space creating poses, compression poses, twists and back bends, Seane left us with these words:
“Why is yoga a necessity in your life? Is it for a better body or are you being called to love in ways you never thought possible?”
So tell me, why is yoga a necessity in your life? What do you get from a regular yoga practice that you can’t live without? If you don’t practice yoga on a mat, how do you bring it into your life?
Did you miss my previous recaps of the Yoga Journal Conference? Find ’em here: