yoga is not something you do...

Yoga is not something we ‘do’…

Yoga isn’t something we do. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately.

Once understood to be a whisper of connection and inner peace, yoga seems to have become a cacophony of sweat-drenched mats and contorted bodies in our fast-paced world. It’s been stripped down to the bare bones and turned into a workout; something that we do and then tick off our list.

But yoga is more than a thing to do. Yoga is what happens when we LET GO of trying to do all the things.

When you ask someone how yoga has shifted them, a physical shift is not normally the first thing they mention. They say things like “I’m more patient with my kids.” Or “I feel more accepting, or more at home in myself.” So how do we get from triangle pose to inner spaciousness?

Practices like asana, pranayama & meditation are ways to connect with the deepest parts of ourselves. Asana works on the most obvious part of who we are, our physical body. The poses are like keys that unlock the doors to our inner world. As we move and stretch, we start to notice the sensations, emotions, and thoughts that arise within us. This self-awareness is a foundational aspect of yoga. When we focus on our breath, moving it not just in and out of our lungs, but using it to send life force through our whole body, something magical happens – we feel both full and spacious at the same time.

In this inner spaciousness, there’s room for self-compassion, self-love, and an experience of the expansiveness of Spirit. We become more receptive to what life is showing us, more tolerant, more accepting. As we learn to see Spirit in us, we start to see Spirit in other things, even in the things/people that irritate us. We learn that when we stop struggling with the way things are, we feel more peaceful.

The inner spaciousness that’s created when yoga happens is a space where everything and everyone can exist in its unique fullness, without infringing on the uniqueness or fullness of anything else. You can have your path and I can have mine, and we can celebrate both.

Admittedly, I’ve gone through phases in my own relationship with yoga. There was a time when it WAS about my body and what I was able to do with it. But as my practice has aged, it’s become more than that. For me, yoga has been an ongoing process of self-discovery, a way to find a deep, expansive sense of inner spaciousness that allows me to be at peace with the moment I’m in – even the hard ones. In the midst of life’s chaos, yoga has become a sanctuary of peace, a place to let go of my need to ‘do’ and simply enjoy the beauty of life.

Approach your yoga with intention and an open heart, and let yoga happen to you too.

© Julie Smerdonn2023

Photo: Pete Longworth

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