New Year‒New Chapter–The Year of the Yogi!?
“Yoga is a mirror to look at ourselves from within.” –B.K.S. Iyengar
“Real growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.” —Thomas Oppong
Liz Pearl @PK Press
It seems that yoga, meditation and mindfulness are taking over the world. Maybe not the entire world, but certainly social media and blogs and new aps are popping up every other day. It’s fair to say yoga is currently mainstream if not trendy. So I figured I’d make a concerted effort to include yoga and mindfulness into my wellness regime for 2019; after all, they’ve been around for ages.
I’ve had a firm belief and practice of stretching for decades, so I naively believed the transition to yoga would be relatively smooth. Of course being somewhat into health and wellness for as long as I can remember; I’ve actually tried yoga classes a few times over the years. I’d say I’ve dabbled in yoga but am certainly not a dedicated yogi. I have every reason to believe it’s valuable and productive, and yet I just haven’t gotten into it; either I get bored or distracted. I am not overly endowed with discipline and I’m not keen on following sequential directions. For 2019‒I resolved to rededicate myself to yoga and mindfulness, certainly all of the research point in that direction. I’m all about holistic practice and the Mind-Body-Soul connection.
I really appreciate the focus on stretch and strength, balance, stability, harmony, the emphasis on breathing and the many invigorating poses.
I can’t really get into the blocks, blankets, cushions, straps and all of the props and paraphernalia, they seem synthetic, somewhat unnatural and definitely consumer focused. I wonder, why does every fad need to be reinvented with name-brand marketing ad infinitum? I’m more of a back-to-basics type. I think a simple mat and towel are adequate for most workouts.
Sometimes the best part of yoga class is the refreshing beverage—water infused with cleansing lemon, ginger or mint. Or the Insta post.
I love the beauty and awe of the natural world. Sun, Moon. Earth. Mountains. Rivers. Lakes. Oceans. Valleys. Trees. Flowers. (The sacred Lotus flower is truly beautiful, and a wonderful visual image for yoga–symmetry and beauty and balance.) And I am inspired to strengthen and stretch my body in the glory of the natural elements. In fact, at times I suppose this is as close as I can get to a spirituality to call my own.
Like many of us, I love the slogans on the Lulu Lemon bags. These mantras are cliché and they continue to resonate: “friends are more important than money”, “creativity is maximized when you are living in the moment”, “breathe deeply”, “dance, sing, (floss) and travel” etcetera… They speak to me, as they speak to many of us. And yet, I still have a tough time on my yoga mat. (Yes, I purchased one at Costco’s). No uber specialized high end props, just the basics.
I love that yoga is inclusive. Yoga is for everyone: all genders, all ages and all abilities. Yoga is adaptive and accessible to a range of special needs. Yoga is suitable for singles, couples and families. Yoga is a healing practice and can be therapeutic for many physiological and psychological conditions. There are a plethora of techniques of all levels and styles. New yoga hybrids are emerging all the time. It’s a traditional practice with many contemporary twists. Yoga is constantly being reinvented.
My favourite pose is the Dancers Pose and I’m hoping to try to increase my current repertoire of basic yoga asana poses. Certainly I am intrigued and challenged by the variety and complexity of the more advanced poses.
On the mat we are guided along… Quieting my mind and focusing on my breath alone sometimes my inner voice whispers: “this is silly, go outside for a walk in the fresh air or the forest or ravine!” or “watch the sunrise or sunset and strike a pose!”
But hey, it’s only the end of January so I’m not yet abandoning my resolution for 2019 to stretch out of my comfort zone and become an amateur yogi. I’m just not drawn to the mat‒yet. February is a new month; perhaps I will download a trending meditation app: Calm, Headspace, MINDBODY…I can’t help but wonder, do we really need apps and workshops and coaches to just slow down, breathe, and literally be in the moment? Or can we not just simply get back to basics: take a walk, breathe fresh air, enjoy a cup of calming chamomile tea and cherish the seasonal view outside the window.
It’s a new year, a new chapter, and the search for calming my inner voice and searching for Zen continue. In the meantime, I will continue the yoga-quest. For now, I think perhaps I am either a yogi-wannabe or, a Rogue Yogi.
What’s your yoga flow?