Keeping it fresh

The practice of yoga seeks to destroy what unpleasant/bad/unbeneficial thoughts or actions we might have.  If we feel “ill” towards someone else, the practice will destroy those ill feelings, so peace and harmony will rule your days.   Sometimes when I’m suggesting classes to a new client, I get a feel for what they want, and what goals they have, so I can help direct them to the appropriate classes.  Sometimes, I get asked about my own practice, ie:  how much do I practice, what style do I practice, etc.  After all of these years, I like to keep my practice fresh, and change it up.  That was NOT the case when I started practicing yoga.

When I started practicing yoga, I wanted the same place, the same teacher, same time, same day.  It helped to keep me on a routine, and with the practice, I began to notice some very marked improvements in my mood, and physical body, over the course of many months.  Often, when something is working, it’s best to stay with that sameness, and I see that time as a great way to establish myself in yoga practice.  I stay with that way for many years, until I became a yoga teacher and started to practice a different style of yoga.  This style I stayed with, and still practice today.

But lately my body needs something different.  After years of “inner listening” to my body, I find it’s just best to listen, and give it what it wants.  You see, in ALL yoga, we are just moving energy out and away, releasing different stored emotions, and feelings.  I like the description of of these 2 ways…..Yoga is like wearing many many layers on your body, such as in winter, and with each yoga practice, you can remove some of those layers.  without those heavy layers on the body, you are free, like skinny dipping.  Another way I’ve heard yoga described, is your body tape records every feeling your’ve felt today, and for your whole life; it records every slight someone else does to you, or time you cried, or you got hurt.  The practice of yoga begins to unwind that tape recorder.

So my yoga practice is this.  Sometimes I just meditate.  Sometimes I move fast, sometimes I move slow.  sometimes, I go in and out of a posture a couple of times, but the other day, I held postures, for a very slow 20 breaths, until I felt the energy shift, change, and release.  Sometimes, I restore, rest, but the next day, practice all kinds of inversions that require strength.  To really progress in yoga, it is important to be both flexible in your body, but most importantly in your mind.

If you have been practicing yoga for awhile, perhaps it is time to change things up?  Practice a different style, or practice slow mindful movements, or see if you can go faster, and still maintain a healthy breathing pattern.  Practice aerial and go upside down, and change your perspective.  Or practice yoga in the hot room, sweat it out, and walk out feeling so much more flexible than when you started.  Maybe you need to learn the philosophy behind the yoga, to make your movements more effective or dive into a teacher training.

You see, I know the yoga will work on giving you what you want, but it’s up to us to change things up, when it’s not working….Remember, if you want society to change, you have to be willing to change yourself.  I’ll leave you with this.  When I did my first teacher training, I did so,  for myself.  I didn’t know if I wanted to teach yoga, but I definitely wanted to learn more about it.  I didn’t want a guru, or learn philosophy, or change my thoughts, or even change my family, and my friends.  but all of those things happened, plus much more.  My practice in the early days was just the very tip of the iceberg.  ‘What laid underneath was a treasure fold of unexpected gifts, I’m still opening to this day.

see you on the mat, or upside down, or dripping with sweat,

Paula

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