A Hindu theistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of body, mind, and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation. — Merriam Websters
I started practicing yoga because I wanted to reduce stress, more importantly I read Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer. I learned that in order to get connected to myself and beyond myself I should practice yoga and meditation. Singer’s book has changed my life in so many ways, ranging from how I view myself as a light being to how I acknowledge that I am not my emotions. I digress, let’s get back to my journey to yoga. I searched for a gym that offered yoga classes, because I just started a new job and I did not have money to pay for a monthly gym and studio membership.
Thankfully, I found a gym that offered beginner yoga classes, so I tired it for a week for free – yay! I was slightly nervous, but I heard that yoga was mainly about stretching and breathing, so I thought, what could be so difficult?! Ha! The first class kicked my butt! I realized how tightly I was holding onto my breath, like it was the only thing I owned. I literally held my breath while attempting a yoga pose that I had no idea where to begin or felt uncomfortable doing. It took many more classes before I understood why. I realized that I lacked trust within myself to do something with little to no experience. That was news to me, because I always thought I was so adventurous, I just left everything I knew for a new job. Seriously, I do not trust myself? Then it came to me as I was balancing on one leg and turning my torso and stretching my opposite arm to towards the sky, as I smiled and breathed into the pose, something said to me that being bold and trusting in myself, therefore trusting in something greater than me are two different things. Boldness is a catalyst for many actions, but faith gives you peace of mind to do those bold actions, to do anything, to come face to face with fear and let it go.
I had to let go of my strong hold on my breath aka fear, fear that I couldn’t do it, fear that I was loosing control, I needed to let it all go, and receive the peace that faith was trying to give me. The peace that only comes from God. This peace lives inside of us, we just have to tap into it. I almost fell over with that epiphany. I knew then that my intention for every practice moving forward, was to let go of my fear and have faith, thereby receiving peace from God and just be.
One of the best types of yoga to help me practice my intention, is vinyasa yoga, which coordinates movement with breath to flow from one pose to the next. Therefore, you can breathe from one pose to the next, leaving the previous pose behind and having faith that your breath and ability comes back to you and will guide you into the next pose, peacefully and with no tension. After a little over two years of practicing vinyasa, I can feel stress building into certain parts of my body, like my hips for example, is one place that I store stress throughout the day. So, I focus my mind on that area of my body whenever I feel the tension, by guiding my breath to it and exhaling deeply to free the tension. It works. Pigeon pose is perfect for releasing stress in the hips – check out my photo below of me doing the pose on the beach. My ultimate goal is to not store stress anywhere in my body, and be present in the moment to feel the tension and within that moment, L E T I T G O.
I am still very much in the intermediate stages of my practice, and continue to incorporate yoga into my daily life. I remind myself that with every exhale I die and every inhale I live, and I am thankful for my breath. Not only because it provides me with life, but because it also allows me to let go of stress, emotions such as fear, experiences good or bad, everything, and be free, completely liberated in each moment and embrace the peace God has waiting for me.
One of my favorite things to do is to plug into Mother Earth, so I decided to practice yoga on the Bay, while it is still a little warm. ☺️
Peace, love, and light.