When we are able to drop into our own heart with a feeling of deep compassion, we are more able to truly love ourselves unconditionally. This does not mean that we are completely off the hook for our own wrong doings! It simply means that we can offer ourselves the loving kindness and forgiveness that so many Yoga practitioners offer to others, both near and far. It is often more challenging to allow a feeling of soft compassion to arise in our own hearts for ourselves, than it is to feel compassion for those who are struggling 3000 miles away from us! When we are able to extend a feeling of compassion to ourselves, we are also freed from past mistakes and are more able to become independent of patterns of thinking and behavior that are no longer serving our highest good.
In terms of Yoga practice, the internal process of self-reflection that leads to a visceral awareness of the essential divinity that lies within our own beings is similar to the process of peeling back layers of an onion. Many of our thoughts and beliefs are based on fundamental assumptions about ourselves and the world at large. These thoughts and beliefs are typically generated by our own life experiences and the effect that people have had on us through the years.
All in all, yoga is a tool for helping those many people in our society who might struggle with keeping with their well intentioned New Years' Resolutions - or those made and attempted at any time of the year. Yoga instructors can be powerful facilitators in those processes through knowledgeable instruction appropriately tailored to each individual student's needs and abilities.
Based on the advice from the 14th century author of “Hatha Yoga Pradipika,” we aren’t the only civilization to think too much. In his teachings, he says: “Abandon all thoughts, then don’t think of anything.”
After our exchange, I thought about yoga as a method for self discovery, and how we, as yoga instructors, can promote the emotional...
Yoga is a deeply enriching practice, which produces positive results that cover the spectrum - from increased flexibility, to reduced pain, and a heightened sense of well being. Yet, some will ask: “What about inner peace?” How can the daily practice of Yoga lead to greater levels of inner peace?
Practicing Yoga can prepare one for many challenging situations in life. That it can be difficult to get along with everyone you meet goes without...
Yoga is a great tool for self-empowerment. The word Yoga actually means union with the divine. The beauty and empowering part of Yoga...
During my first yoga teacher training in 2004, I learned how to move into upward facing bow or wheel pose, which is an advanced back bending, heart opening pose thought to require a great deal of strength. It's done by lifting the body up into a bow as you press your hands and feet into the floor.
Yoga is a personal journey. Everyone comes to yoga for a different reason. The word "success" means different things to different people. For me it means how calm and peaceful I am when under stress. For you, it may mean losing a couple of pounds or feeling more comfortable in your clothes.