The best gift of yoga.

This gift of yoga comes unannounced, and quietly comes into your mind, body and heart without fanfare or bells and whistles.  It is not a particular pose, like finally nailing your handstand. It doesn’t come from a particular teacher, nor a particular class or even a particular yoga center.  It comes from practicing yoga, day in and day out.  It is born of struggles, disappointment, pain, and wanting to give up, because you know, life; you are busy.  But something inside of you persists, practices and doesn’t stop.  That someone or something inside of you that yearns for light, 24/7; that sees a bigger picture than strength or flexibility combined, that sees you for you, how you really are, what and who you are.

As I woke up this morning, life’s troubles stared me right back in the face, with a big smirk.  Life has thrown me a 1/2/3 punch that has threatened to take me down.  All that I love and cherished has been on the line.  Times where I have gone into the darkest places in my mind, that I ever have.  Threatening to consume, and spiral downward, I have rose up.  Well, I should say the practice of yoga has lifted me up.  

This is a feeling absent from your circumstances.  For instance, if we have 2 weeks of solid rain, it might make you feel a little blue or down, or even big life events, such as the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a home.  At times like these, when we are at the lowest of lows, it would be really difficult to see how doing some yoga poses might help you feel better.  It’s at this point, even seasoned yogi’s might want to give up their practice.  

The yogi’s have a special sanskrit word for this.  “Ananda”.  Ananda is bliss, joy that comes from these physical postures.  It’s not the bliss you feel when life is going right;  you have the right job, secure in your finances, secure and happy with your friends and family.  But this is the bliss and joy you feel despite circumstances telling you to feel down.  This joy brings tears to your eyes, it is so bright, so full, so complete.  

This Ananda is within each and every one of us.  This is within our grasp, and embedded in our soul.  It is who we really are, when we remove all of what life has thrown our way.  This is the real gift of yoga.  This is why I practice, although I didn’t come to the practice looking for this.

Don’t believe me, like a real scientist, go and practice yourself.  And then we you “think” you know all of what yoga is, step up your game.  Go to someone who will find your tightness, or the area you are most weak in.  That leads you to this path of Ananda.

See you on your mat,

Paula

No more LUMPS.

Why I practice yoga daily

After a 20+ year consistent yoga practice, I can honestly say I’m just scratching the surface of benefits the practice beholds.  Nevertheless, the riches are there….

My physical health.  Generally, I feel pretty great.  If an ache comes up in my body, I’m usually able to work it out in yoga practice.  This alone is worth keeping up the practice.  I speak of this all the time, but let me tell you something of what happened lately.  My family’s DNA has had its fair share of neck issues.  Low thyroid, tumors on cervical discs, to name a few things.  My sister has had 3 surgeries, removing tumors from the neck area, with the last surgery being quite painful and difficult to heal from.  They were benign thankfully, but still needed to be removed.  Six months ago, I noticed a sizeable lump on the back on my neck.  I watched it come and go, and noticed that it was bigger on day’s I was feeling “off, angry, and a host of other emotions”.  I buckled down in my yoga practice, and consistently did a practice revolving around the neck and shoulders.  I made sure that when those emotions came, I had coping mechanisms in place, such as breath, getting out in nature, and meditation, and doing some things that filled me up from the inside.  It’s been a couple of months now, and I feel no lumps back there, but I know I still have more work to do.  Right now, I’m content with the fact that it looks like I’ve healed myself from a potentially, painful expensive surgery.  

This is exactly how yoga works to heal us.  Underneath everywhere, trapped in fascia, organs, breath are “unfelt” emotions.  We hide our emotions, because we are taught as children to not cry, to not throw temper tantrums, or even discuss our feelings.  At least not in our family.  All of those emotions are buried in the body, but can be accessed, felt, and let go through the practices of yoga and meditation. 

My mental health.  Yoga practice has made a huge impact on my mental outlook.  Before yoga, I can remember crying over the drop of a bucket, or a harsh word from someone.  I am so much more steadfast, and less reactive than I ever was.  This makes me enjoy life to its fullest degree. 

I know I have work to do yet.  I feel strong, capable, balanced and able to focus on the task ahead.  A journey, I’m so thankful to be able to take. 

Thank you all, friends, clients, and teachers of Anahata to walk on this journey together.  May we all lift each other up, and feel good together!

See you on the mat,

Paula