The goal of my yoga practice is no longer to be good at yoga poses.
As I get older, my goal is to be functional, to have more fun in my body, to move well, to have physical confidence.
But just as important to me as the physical well being is the mental and emotional benefits of yoga. I want to be well adjusted and emotionally stable. I want to recognize and question that voice in my head that tells me I suck. I want to be resilient when sadness and loss come my way. I want to respond rather than react so I build up my relationships rather than tear them down.
While we may be focused on improving ourselves and and taking care of our bodies what about our mental health? What about a practice that helps us accept ourselves as we are?
A lot of different things can make our bodies healthier and almost any exercise helps us feel better physically and mentally. Yoga does not replace counseling or therapy but yoga is somewhat unique in its focus on mindfulness and somatics. Yoga recognizes that the health of the body is interdependent on a healthy mind and heart and the feelings of connection we have in our relationships and with the natural world.
So how can yoga help us manage our emotions? Yoga teaches us that emotions are real but temporary. That we are much more than our feelings and more than our thoughts. That the self is vast and infinite and that we have agency over what we choose to believe or act upon. As my favorite bumpersticker says, “don’t believe everything you think”.
But instead of denying our emotions, allowing ourselves to feel them can be very cathartic. Many of us are oblivious to the deep currents that move us, hold us back, and lead us astray.
Emotions and negative beliefs are often based on past experience and conditioning. We often cling to what we know, even if it is uncomfortable, because unconsciously we like to surround ourselves with the “known.” But emotions and thoughts can change with reflection, new information and time.
To gain insights, knowledge and self awareness you need time and space to let yourself feel.
To let whatever you are feeling be seen and acknowledged.
A yoga class that allows you to do this in a safe environment can be a great addition to your practice. One definition of the word yoga is union.
Take time to weave yourself together mind body and heart.
Join me for these contemplative practices
Intro to Yoga and Meditation Monday nights 8:15 -9:15 pm at Killarney Pool
barcode 11995 (starts January 22)
Yin and Rolling class Tuesday mornings 9:30 -10:30 am at Westside Recreation