“When the restlessness of the mind, intellect and self is stilled through the practice of yoga, the yogi, by the grace of the spirit within himself, finds fulfilment. Then he knows the joy eternal which is beyond the pale of the senses which his reason cannot grasp. He abides in this reality and moves not therefrom.” B.K.S. Iyengar – Light on Yoga.
Yoga is traditionally a spiritual science evolved over centuries to help us all deal with the dilemmas of human life. Since the propagation of its teaching in the western world, a variety of styles have been developed; some more dynamic, others more restorative, and everything in between from yoga and dance, to sleep yoga, laughter yoga, and yoga therapy. While this diversion is often critiqued within the yoga scene for diluting its original essence, all these practices offer powerful tools to access the power of yoga as a whole (maybe leave out cat yoga and beer yoga, I don’t really know what all that’s about). Ultimately, yoga is a word that means different things to different people, but what connects practitioners around the world is the shared journey of discovering a deeper sense of connection and awareness within and of oneself. The role of yoga as a practice, then, is to provide the individual with the tools to reach this unified state of body, mind and soul.
We are all driven by the desire to feed the body and mind what it needs to feel good, and deep down we know that means treating ourselves with wholesome love and respect. That’s why, actually, your yoga journey begins the moment you decide to start taking better care of yourself. Some people start yoga to develop strength and flexibility. Others come to relax and unwind. But overall, the focus is on taking responsibility for our own health and wellbeing.
For me, it started when I surrendered to my heart’s whisper for peace, before I stepped on the mat for the first time. I’d always been someone to test my own limits and push myself as hard as I could, but my soul was tired and cried for a break. So when I decided that yoga classes would help me balance my need to move and my need to regain my strength, the path of compassion and letting go was already underway. My first class was a vinyasa flow class at the university gym, and boy! I felt it the next day. But it was the connection to a joy within myself that exploded as I breathed to the beat which kept me coming back. Over the past five years, what began as a practice of mindful movement has continued to carry me from that first breath on a journey into stillness. And hence I find myself sharing what yoga is, not just to me, but for she who continues to search for it until she rests therein.