Yoga…what is it really about?

Written by Teresa Phelps Martin

On February 3, 2014

This…of course…is my own opinion. Which in turn has been shaped by my teachers and my experiences, yep conceptual learning and experiential learning. This process of taking the knowledge and living the knowledge is a common theme from my teachers, both those that are yogis and those that are not…even though we all are in some way or another… Yes, yoga is more than just a physical practice. That, really, is just the gateway.

I get this great opportunity to teach a practice that helps people connect to their many parts. One class in particular, a Beginning Yoga class here at the College, which happens to be the same school where I first had my eyes and heart opened to this practice. The academic class allows me to slowly share with people that yoga is a practice of humility, patience, courage, compassion and curiosity which is a dream come true. The dream that is taking truth…that people are learning a practice that allows for more freedom … connection to their essential nature. College is a time when people are in a huge developmental phase of their life. In this class they are learning a life skill, gaining insight of how to turn into their own inner wisdom and participate with the greater wisdom of their external environment. And it happens over three months, not just 60, 75, or 90 minutes when they feel like it. They have to be there, but they signed up for it, and some of them begged to be allowed in… They get a chance to learn about the practice, on a very introductory level, and they get to watch the experience unfold through the semester.

This upcoming weekend I also get to share with a small intimate group a weekend of yoga. It's part of a bigger picture, but the weekend involves movement, conversation, inquiry, and a large amount of consciousness taking a creative form. This in of itself is the deeper intention of the studio, but mine as well. Sure we will do a physical practice, it is an important means to making a larger energetic connection with our own selves and the people around us. But more than the physical aspect it is an uncovering or blossoming of what the shape one's yoga can take, how it integrates into their life, and how then one can express their yoga back into the world. A chance to learn, understand and experience the many expressions of consciousness.

But what is yoga? In a very simple definition it means to yoke. But what are you bringing together? What is being connected? Why would you want to connect anything in the first place? The first contemplation of this brought into writing suggests through this practice of connection, union, and bringing together the different pieces the divine would be favorable. Interestingly enough, the first mention of yoga didn't include a rubber sticky mat, it didn't include modern day sun salutations where most everyone (including me) is wearing synthetic material, it did though include sacrifice and discipline. This initial contemplation, weaving or connecting spirit and being to be helped in one's efforts, came with the beginning of civilization. Since the beginning of humanity yoga has continued to develop many expressions and ways which encourages a bond between multiple aspects.

Perhaps then yoga is the reminder that we are never alone, that it takes many parts, many players, many pieces of the puzzle to create this life. Then the next part…how do you step into this process….? Are you interested in connecting to the light that shine's in you, as you, as all of us? Are you willing to step on the path of knowledge and experience regarding your life, becoming conscious through humility, patience, courage, love, devotion, compassion, curiosity, discipline? This is what, for me, yoga is really about…learning and understanding how to stand tall in the light that has taken the form of me. It hasn't nor will it always be pretty, but it's the best practice and journey I've ever encountered.

How about you? What is it really about for you?

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1 Comment

  1. gmcushing

    What’s it really all about? Great question. I know what it isn’t all about. It’s not all about me. Yoga didn’t teach me that but it increased my awareness to the point where I was able to make important changes in my life. It was the first step on a journey that has taken me to a better place. It’s a journey that continues from day to day. I became aware of the world around me. In the last year of my life, I have made more changes than in the rest of my life combined and they have all been very positive. I gave up the old self centered way of life and replaced it with a new direction which involves helping others. I connected with old friends and made new ones. I am much better off mentally and physically. I no longer drink and I often teach a spiritual meditation class. And it all started with my doctor saying; Have you considered taking yoga? Yoga was that first step for me.


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