You can always begin!
Each time I have a chance to study with my teachers, I leave feeling refreshed and renewed. The classes are challenging, physically, and mentally. And they also deepen my emotional and spiritual understanding. Classes are taught with skill and purpose, with teachers who encourage us to keep going, and our best effort is encouraged, Yoga teaches us that it is our effort that counts - not any specific goal. It is the work we do, called our dharma, that we engage in without expectation for reward. Yoga is a practice that is passed on, and learned through direct experience. Both on the mat and off the mat, yoga is practiced. It has been said that Yoga is “Skill in Action.” Whether we are making breakfast, talking with a friend, or practicing yoga on the mat, our effort in the connection with what we are doing brings us into the present moment. So, Yoga is from moment to moment, Skill in Action…and faith that keeps us going!
In Ancient Yoga and Ayurveda, the “seers” developed a keen perception of seasonal change and how we could adapt our daily life practices according to each season. Summer is a culmination of Fall, Winter and Spring. It is a time for refreshment, liveliness, and ease. It is a time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. So, kick off your shoes, focus inward, reconnect and rejuvenate. Here’s to life!
We move forward into a New Year. Someone said, “Prepare for tomorrow today.” Today is an important day! It holds with it the possibility of what may be tomorrow. Staying present, in our moment to moment actions in life, helps us not to miss what is before us.
Yoga teaches us to do this—how to stay present. And Yoga teaches us to practice, with it’s over 5000 year old philosophy—to stay in the present moment.
One tool we always have with us is our breath. When our mind races forward or backward in time, to our detriment, bringing our attention to our breath can create clarity and calmness and presence. Yoga also teaches us discernment—thoughts arise continuously, the mind is in constant motion—must I pay attention to each and every thought? Can I recognize my thoughts, without attaching my mind to them? Can I minimize how much attention I give to each thought? The many teachings of Yoga teach us that we learn how to help our minds through practice.
What tools does Yoga offer us for practice:
Practice of Asana, or Yoga posture
Practice of Pranayama, or control of energy
Practice of Meditation, or staying present with what is before us
Practice of Mudra, or holding on to the state of presence