A regular yoga practice lends itself to a lot of newfound self-knowledge [svadyaya]. As a first time student once told me after she had finished class, “It made me aware of all these parts of my body I don’t use enough, and the ones I use too much.” What you do with this knowledge is up to you! If you apply it to an observance of "santosha" [honesty] and "tapas" [perseverance], an ever-evolving practice of self-discovery and enhancement will unfold for you! I think this is one of the most alluring and exciting parts of being a yogi.
We show up to the mat with the knowledge that the work we set out to do is life-enhancing for ourselves and as a model for others. Then, we study. We breathe and we move and we open and we release, and we make room to let our limits be revealed. As we move from a place of honest observation, we see where we are on the physical and mental planes of our practice.
An obvious benefit to a regular yoga practice is an increased cardiovascular endurance as we train our bodies to breathe more completely. Yoga teaches to accept current limits and understand them so that we may move beyond them. This discovery can happen in our posture where we explore how to come into a handstand or back-bend safety, and may happen in our attitude when we discover how it is to maintain composure in gridlock traffic.
Regardless of how long you have been practicing yoga asana [postures] or pranayama [breath exercises], there are always limits to explore and expand. The poses we hold on the mat train us for the poses and positions we find off the mat. It is our beautiful challenge to move through each of them with the honesty, the perseverance and the self-love that permits us to do so graciously.
In the words of Oliver Holmes " A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to it's old dimensions."
Have a beautiful week, readers!