Yoga presents a refuge. Here, I share reflections from my journey practicing vinyasa yoga and how it can benefit your life.
Yoga is a personal practice, unique to each individual.
The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, a collection of Sanskrit aphorisms on the theory and practice of yoga, tell us the purpose of yoga is to “still the patterning of consciousness” so that “pure awareness can abide in its very nature.”
Yogas citta vritti nirohda.
“Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.” This sutra highlights the importance of being in control of the mind and the ability to recognize that sometimes the mind, with all its baggage, memories, imaginations, can get in the way of peace or seeing what actually is.
The goal of yoga is not to achieve a certain level of mastery or perfection, but rather to cultivate awareness, presence, and peace—both at the personal level and societal level, as the word “yoga” itself means “to yoke,” or connect, unify.
Even if you struggle with a particular posture or feel like you are not making progress, you are still benefiting from the practice of yoga. The physical postures, or asanas, are just one aspect of yoga. The breath, mindfulness, and inner focus are essential components of yoga, and can be practiced regardless of physical ability.
Yoga is a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, and each person’s path is different. There’s no need for competition, comparison, or judgment. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced practitioner, there is always something new to learn and explore. As long as you are practicing, you cannot fail.
Besides yoga, I enjoy painting, often using words juxtaposed with visual abstractions, and the phrase “you can’t fail at yoga” came to me, even before I embarked on teacher training, in the midst of one of life’s rough patches.
Caught up in reactionary workaholism, managing anxiety, struggling to find a purpose beyond earning a paycheck, struggling with my weight and conflicts in my relationships, battling demons from the past…I discovered that practicing vinyasa yoga helped me.
Vinyasa is a sanskrit word meaning “to place in a special way” and describes a style of yoga that connects a series of bodily movements and shapes with breath to create a flow. For me, it brings home the idea of living life with intention.
Through my vinyasa practice, I draw connections to opportunities for living life as a whole more intentionally, or in a more “special way,” while going with the flow.