I'm often surprised to discover how few people in my local culture know what Yoga is, or even what the word itself means. The most common responses I get when I ask is that it is, "Stretching", "Relaxing", "Posing", and the closest guess, "Meditating". Even when I test the local yoga teachers, I get mostly a dodgy response, exposure of insecurities, victim based perspective, or false pride/righteousness, and all together exemplifying superficial levels of what true yoga is. Overall, I'm not particularly worried about the culture, for within my discoveries I know, feel, and trust that Nature and the patterning ways of the universe, will always have It's way and balance out the collective by whatever means necessary. Besides, "Energy flows where attention goes", being concerned and projecting problems isn't really going to help anyone out; at least not directly. I work/play towards a big "level up" of our species and discover how to integrate our internal and external selves into a solution based reality through what Yoga truly is.
Yoga, in it's wholeness, is an ancient study of Self, that being, the mind, the body and the breath/life force and the infinite discovery of how what we discover outside of the body, is due to what is happening inside the body, and vice-versa. What we do is find positions to put our body in and then breathe and be calm in the pressures we experience allowing for release; this helps to open and heal areas that are hard to get into, and to release stored up emotional baggage held in the muscles/connective tissue. To most this seems to be a terrifying notion, as we have become much of a culture of "wrongdoers" who consume and pollute the planet and inspire other cultures to follow suit for the sake of the ownership of stuff. So yeah, I can understand why a lot of people are over intimidated by the practice, but let me in to show you why you should embrace this fear rather than make excuses and fall short of your true potential.
Through Ecstatic Dance, a practice of free-form dancing to music, I discovered after the release of my unserving self consciousness a very real and important truth of the human condition: Be humbled for having tried. OR Be humbled for having never tried. Folks, those are your two and only two choices in life; discover humility through a practice or discover humility without one (usually towards the end of your life when it's too late). Yoga is for getting into your physical, mental, and emotional bodies and discover the depths of how you have been treating yourself and thus allowed yourself into the state you are currently in (don't worry though; it's still ever changing). Some is excusable, most is not. Through a vicious cycle and patterning of escapism and neglect of our true potential, most cannot truly look within and face their inner demons; it's too scary, it's too painful.
But is it really all that scary and painful?
At first, YES. The hardest part of yoga is beginning your practice, getting some momentum behind it and recognizing that Yoga is the practice of being a human being and a moderator of the universe around said human being. If you can get up the mountain, the view is spectacular, magical and truly rewarding; as is the next mountain, and the next and onward to the recognition that life itself is a practice in the balance between pressures (feelings and experiences that don't feel so good, but in one way or another are constructive) and pleasures (feelings and experiences that do feel good, and are not necessarily constructive).
When we recognize that whether we are in the classroom (safe zone/comfort zone) or outside the classroom (danger zone/outside our comfort zone), our yoga practice is always on. You're doing it already; you're already a yogi, just maybe have not discovered the importance of a regular internal observation practice.
How we will "save the world" is not through typical means; how we will save the world is by each of us, individually, discovering our ability to influence our entire universe at large by choosing to practice Perspective Change. There will be ups and there will be downs, but change your perspective 180 degrees and find that there are downs about your ups and ups about your downs; this is the key to a consistent state of "Nirvana" - life is a process of going with the flow and seeing the best in all things. It's a, "Whew! What a relief!" in discovering that we are all relative, all connected and all in love; be it platonic, romantic or some other form, yoga and other internal observing arts are a way to get in closer touch with who you truly are at the deepest level: A Conscious Creator amongst many other Conscious Creators.
If I could promise you a growing level of abundance and bliss for the entirety of your life, would you take my offer? If I guaranteed your success, would you be willing to take a leap of faith and go a little outside of your comfort zone in order to pursue your dreams? I am confident that I can guide you to a better life experience, though I can only show you the door, it will be you who has to walk through it and continue onto the path to the place you desire to go. I’m not here to tell you what you should or should not do; this presentation is not about you, it is about me. It is the illustration of how I learned to unify and harmonize the three things that make life possible and thus make life grand. Those are the body, the mind and the breath. This is the story of what Yoga is to me.
I used to believe disorders were real, and my mind was plenty capable to find the evidence to support their being. I used to believe in conspiracy theories, that things like surgery and pharmaceuticals were reasonable solutions, and that anxiety and depression were bad things. I used to believe that there was a right way to live. Who knew that a little focused breath in motion would clean and clear the useless jargon that was holding back my life’s true potential. And in a nutshell, that’s all yoga is; focused breath in motion to assist in cleaning and clearing our perspective on command in the aims of continuing to check and balance our pursuit of happiness from the inside, out. I learned the truth if that I simply kept a slow and steady breath, a proper posture, and a healthy/constructive mindset, then everything would fall perfectly into place. Sounds pretty magical doesn’t it? Perhaps hard to believe? That is only because we have allowed ourselves to be influenced to be overly skeptical thus closing off the mind to new creative actions and ultimately to a life that is over serious and tragic. You see, Yoga is about turning life inside out, by focusing on our internal happenings and learning about the process of what creates our external reality.
Let me offer you a free sample; perhaps your first lesson in real yoga (not western-style yoga that only focuses on stretching the physical body). Take a moment, and relax your eyes. Now, notice how you are feeling. Observe your thoughts and your current state of emotion without needing to judge it; just notice how you are right now. … Now, take a moment to focus on your natural breath and posture without changing it; just seeing it as it is. … Ok. Now, bring your back away from your chair by moving forward on your seat. With an exhale out the mouth, relax the legs completely. Starting at your hips, through your groin, thighs, knees, lower legs, ankles, and feet. Now inhale through your nose and gently flex your naval in towards your spine and pull your abdomen up away from your tailbone. Exhale out your mouth. Inhale again deeply through your nose pulling your chest high. Exhale completely, out your mouth and release your shoulders; feel them melt down your sides as your arms and hands become heavy and relaxed. Then inhale again through the nose, rise up with your crown as if there were an invisible cord attached to it reeling you higher towards the sky. Then slowly exhale and neatly stack your head over shoulders and shoulders over hips. Take a moment to observe your breath and posture now and experience how you feel. Likely more confident, more energized, and more relaxed, all at once. In less than 2 minutes, the unionization, or yoga, of your body, mind and breath has made a significant difference that will likely move into the rest of your day’s experience.
So why yoga? Because it is the fundamental practice of being a human being. It has next to nothing to do with a religion and more to do with a way of life; of living. Yoga improves not just flexibility, but stamina, muscle tone, healing time, constructive mindset, calm composure and an ease to the challenges that life offers. If you are interested, I teach public and private lessons that will immediately increase your quality of life; men, women and children alike. You can’t knock it, because you’ve just tried it. I encourage you to take the next step; invest in your internal self so that your influence of your external world will become that much more remarkable. Namaste, or in layman’s terms, the light in me acknowledges and respects the light in you. Thank you.