Though yoga is for "every-body" it is not a one size fits all practice. Just as every mountain has many paths leading to different summits, or rims, there are many ways to go about practicing yoga, which ultimately leads to quite a variety of options. As we enter into the yoga practice with many different ideas or intentions of what to expect, say a calmer state of being or maybe increased mobility and stamina; there are aspects of these postures that can bring about different qualities within ones being. For example, to reduce anxiety and stress, balance in tree pose. Or to fire up your heart and feel more invigorated, practice a low crescent lunge sinking the hips with a slight back bend.
Just as we know the feeling of being replenished by a drink of pure water when we are hiking up a desert trail on a hot day, there are many ways to quench your proverbial thirst on the yoga mat and then see that support how you are feeling today. The question is, what is your body, your mind, your soul, thirsty for? Are you feeling like you need a nap, but have a laundry list of things to accomplish? Has your morning dose of coffee left you dragging and you still can't seem to find the time in your day for that one hour to peddle on your bicycle or walk your dog? Maybe you are feeling lethargic or out of sync and just cannot seem to get your head into focus and balance what is on your plate. Well, here are some tips to support your dosha and bring you back into balance. "What's that?," you say..."Where's my dosha...I didn't know I had one of those." And just like the first time you found your belly button, your dosha hits the bulls eye when it comes to finding your "center" inside of your yoga practice. Get ready to sing a happier tune and come to the practice with some new perspective.
I once had the pleasure of meeting inspirational author and guru Dr. Wayne Dyre, his teachings are so inspiring. One of my favorite quotes of his is, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Though it may seem easier said than done when one is faced with serious challenges, yet that is exactly why yoga is so powerful. The postures become a catalyst to move the breath or prana, through the body and this helps to shift the minds response mechanism. One starts to observe and criticism falls away. The effect: you are more balanced and ease, more centered and able to see the bigger picture. Can you imagine a world in which everyone practiced yoga? Can you imagine a world where we all gave ourselves time each and every day to sit, breathe an be? How would this change the way we come to our lives, our families, and our work?
The posture provides the vehicle, your breath becomes the fuel that feeds the fire and burns off the excess "stuff."
"What stuff?" Hmm...this could be any number of things, starting with thoughts that you have given power that no longer serve you, your mind, your heart, your soul or anyone else for that matter. It doesn't matter where the thought came from, even though you might know or find out, what matters is what you do with it and if you choose to give it power over you. When emotions are holding one down from taking a leap of faith in a new career, these emotions then become the bodies wasteland. The body then stores held stress as fat, or accumulates it "dis-ease." "Dis-ease" can be anything from a head ache to a sense of being out of sink or disconnected, or any sense of being out of balance. The yogi remembers to access breath in this situation, to slow the mind down, to take a break when needed or use the breath to "feed the fire" and get into action. This is when ones learns to discern and ask, what is it that I need to do(or not do) right now, to support being in a state of grace?
The practice of yoga has been around for over 5,000 years and the benefits hit on every level of our gross and subtle bodies, from helping with weight loss to supporting living in a happier, healthier state of mind. According to Timothy McCall M.D., author of Yoga As Medicine, states that a "study in India found that a yoga program that included asana, pranayama, and meditation raised levels of serotonin and lowered levels of monoamine oxidase—two neuro chemicals involved in depression" in Yoga Journal. It is a remarkable thing when we look at the boom of anti-anxiety and anti-depression pills that have become quite common place in our culture. With all of the external stimulants that are within our reach, it seems it is time to reach in and reach out with something that has been tried and true for centuries. Let us step into the space of grace once more in this rich field of plenty, where our cups over flow with breath and we begin to access, yes access the joy of our being as it unfolds in each fold and step. Take a deep breath and let your practice take on a new form...what's your dosha? Explore your inner landscape and just see...how you come out on top. This is your day and your practice.explore and play!
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Kali Ray Torres