what my yoga has become.





good morning my friends! how are you?

i just wanted to take this post as a chance to document where i am in my yoga journey. yoga, for me, has changed dramatically in only the past few months. and it's all because of a class i took with my mom at the gym in connecticut back in january. a weight training body bar class. yes. a weight class at the gym has changed my life in 2013.

how so? how can lifting weights change my yoga practice? it's really taken the pressure off my practice to be a form of strenuous exercise. for me personally, i tend to want to reap maximum benefits from each activity i do and not short change myself. quality is where it's at. the way i used to practice yoga was a bit stressful, i am embarrassed to say. i felt like i had to get a hard core workout heaped with arm balances and mega challenges, AND find time throughout that for meditation. trying to get my leg to go higher in flying pigeon did not help me spiritually. i'm obviously not saying this is true for arm balance and inversion lovers out there, it's only true for me. it became gymnastics, and 'i can't wait to photograph this and share this on instagram! it's going to get so many likes!' NO. this is not the yoga i need. it's almost a struggle egotistically to let go of that desire to photograph my somewhat advanced asana postures. and an even bigger struggle to watch as i can no longer do postures i used to be able to do.

why does it matter if i can't get my feet to touch my head in dancer pose? why is this a goal? why has there become this standard of postures we must try to meet? these questions have stripped down my practice. it's super freeing to not care if i can do a handstand or do one legged crow. to just not care. and know you deserve happiness if you simply wake up in the morning. it's crazy, because at the point where you do care if you can do a pose or not is when you've totally lost the point of yoga. or at least the spiritual aspect of yoga, which is to unite the body and mind.

what is yoga? this is the ongoing debate amongst the yoga world people. and i'm at the point where i could give a shit what your yoga is. all that matters is what my yoga is. i am being selfish in keeping my peace, i don't need to dictate the peace of other people. yoga postures absolutely do not guarantee you will be a nicer person. with this revelation, and me getting a body work out elsewhere, i no longer feel dependent on a full asana practice for my happiness.

what my yoga has become... is my sanctuary. my place to find my breath and listen to my body. there is no pressure to do anything but sit. once i sit and breathe for a few minutes i usually find i'd like to move my body and enjoy it. there is such power and stillness in just feeling your body open up in the simplest of postures. i don't want to kill myself and see how far i can push myself. that part of me is now reserved for my pump it up gym class and my running. i don't need this type A part of myself to be present on my holy mat. i still like to have fun and throw in a handstand when i feel like it, but i don't have to. there is no guilt, no list of poses i must do, nothing that is imprisoning my mind.

yoga has become very special, like an unconditional love that will take me in any way it can. it's there to simply make me feel good. TO FEEL GOOD. because we deserve it. that's it.

namaste.

Comments

  1. I loved this post - thanks for sharing ! I can relate in many ways.

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  2. ~Hayley – I really appreciate your post this morning! I’ve been playing this game with myself for the last couple of weeks and your experience has shed some light on my situation! A while ago I realized that I am not a ‘gym’ person. At about the same time, I found this amazing yoga studio ~ I have NEVER experienced a session like the ones I do at this location, and the community is so beautiful and supportive that I thought I could forgo a ‘traditional’ style workout for my Yoga practice. Bottom line, my ego does not belong on my mat… and it started following me there. I was looking to get that strenuous exercise from my practice and because of this, there was less and less room for the mind/body/spirit connection that I look to achieve from Yoga. Also, I started focusing more on what cool poses I could do rather than why I was really there… TO FEEL GOOD!

    I am continually reuniting with the fact that I am there for myself, and no one else. ~ I am also working on dissolving the need to dictate to others what yoga is to me and/or post pictures of myself. I am not here to impress the world, and the funny thing is, when I try to… no one is impressed! Ultimately, I am grateful to yoga for presenting me with this conundrum!
    NAMASTE~

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  3. yoga has made your heart open even more and you are sharing that gift with the world. i'm glad you say it like you mean it! thank you for being such a graceful soul in the world. not only do you inspire people, you encourage them to be exactly where they are at. acceptance and grace. love you! xoxo

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  4. This resonates with me so much, Hayley. I sometimes find myself putting pressure on to make my yoga practice "count" as a full workout, which is nice when I'm up for it, but it also means that sometimes I forgo yoga altogether when I'm not feeling up for it. So sad because that's when I might truly benefit from some restorative practice. It feels so good to find that stillness and even just doing something as simple as down dog can bring such relief from tension and soreness. How can that not be as valuable as a hard core workout?

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  5. Your words are just inspiring - thank you for that.

    I had a bad "yoga crisis" some time ago: I was pushing myself more and more.... and it felt just bad. After an injury with bad pain I recollect to the asanas that are really "mine": Sarvangasana, Paschimothanasana, Garbhasana, Halasana, Ardha Matsendrasana and Nakara). I learned a really really important thing: Everybody has their own Asanas, not everything works for every body. Since I found my "signature-asanas", yoga became something very very special for me.

    Namaste,
    Monique from germany

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