Yoga has been around for thousands of years; the word “yoga” has been found in ancient scripts dated as far back as 1500 B.C. More recently, over the past two decades, yoga has been extensively researched and shown to provide dozens of wellness benefits including increased flexibility and balance; improved relaxation and mental health, and an enhanced circulatory, respiratory and musculoskeletal system.
What is it about this timeless practice that has everyone so curious? How does yoga work?
When yoga exploded into mainstream North America, much of the focus was on the just the class. But the time you spend on your mat is just a small part of the yogi lifestyle. Since the birth of yoga, dozens of different yoga styles have emerged. Although there are many varieties of classes, yoga is all connected by a single intention: to journey back inwards to your Self. This life-long venture is explored by practicing a multi-pronged approach, commonly through the “8 limbs of yoga”.
Elements of the “8 limbs of yoga” are found in most local yoga classes. A typical class or practice, will have a basic framework of dhyana (meditation), pranayama (breath work) and asana (postures). The order and variation of these are dependent on the style of yoga and the teacher.
At DPPS, we have two forms of yoga: Hatha & Vinyasa (click here for full class descriptions). Every class is unique, designed to fit the needs of the individuals attending, but ultimately has the same destination. The journey is always within. I like to explain this deep-rooted personal voyage by using the flower of life as an example.
Have you ever sat down and tried to draw the flower of life? If you haven’t, I invite you to give it a go. Start with one circle with a dot in the middle. This dot in the middle represents you, now in present time. All your current knowings, your beliefs, your job, your relationships. As you begin to walk the yogi path, you begin to grow in all realms. The dot swells to take up more space, working your way to eventually create a large circle. As you explore all that you can within this space, pushing boundaries, uncovered truths and learning lessons you eventually create a magnificent symmetrical circle. This proportional circle is created by the equal practice of all 8 limbs. Each limb contributing to outward expansion and forging a harmonious balance within the Self.
As this flowering Self reaches the outline of the circle, you will begin to press up against your borders. The outline or border represents your edges. Finding your edges is an incredible place to be. This is your launching pad for an evolution of the Self. Your inquisitiveness to stretch through these edges and find new edges sparks expansion, deeper understanding and more profound knowings. From this spark blooms another dot, beginning at your previous edge. This dot over time will again progress into another symmetrical circle, continuing to interact with all of your present wisdom. More unfolding and edges to explore as life unravels until you reach a beautiful deeper understanding of your Self. All your life experiences are all interconnected by your starting point, and your knowledge of the Self can grow beyond all limits. There are no barriers in the flower of life, your life; there are just new opportunities to open and create space for yourself.
Yoga is the path to seeking out all your edges, being gentle and kind to yourself by allowing space and time, free of judgement, to journey within the depths of the Self. Just like the opening of a beautiful sacred flower.
Once there is a deeper knowledge of what yoga is and can be for you the yoga mat becomes a spiritual space. This is the place to come home to yourself, to set your soul on fire. This exploration will be different for each person, as no two flowers are alike.
To honor and respect this, my yoga classes are a place to settle into yourself. A place where asymmetries are welcomed, not judged. A place where creativity soars and falling out of a pose is encouraged (best way to explore edges!). A space where you can be yourself, to smile, frown or wear your heart on your sleeve.
With yoga you will discover that there is expansive luminous space within you, many edges to trace out. Cracks that need mending, corners that need opening. My yoga classes are a safe place where fear is deconstructed and love and light are honored. A place to let the world melt around you, dissolve what doesn’t serve you and embrace the new path in front of you.
With this comfortable ground to stand on, the foundation of all yoga practice can be built. The sacred foundation of your breath. Your breath is your life source, your vitality. It is the single most important daily gift that you can give yourself. Conscious breathing is so significant that my voice is there to guide you secondary to your own rhythmic breath. Your breath will ground you, it will shine, cascading and swirling within you, draw you back into your body, illuminating your soul.
And from this breath comes movement. Movement into the Self as your steady breath steers your sail, guiding you to spaces to uncover. My classes have a variety of postures to explore the tangled or knotted edges within you.
So what is yoga? Yoga is many things, in many forms and it will guide you back to you, if you choose to walk the path. Welcome home.
“The power is in you. The answer is in you. And you are the answer to all your searches: you are the goal. You are the answer. It’s never outside.” – Eckart Tolle