Commit to Myself: Expand My Yoga Practice
By: “AJ” Amy Jo Crowell, Publisher Dallas Yoga Magazine & Co-Founder Cosmic Yogi Movement
Today yogis forget that the practice of yoga not only includes the physical well being of the body, but improvement of the mind and soul as well. We all have been in class and we see a pose we can’t do or hold for long and we strive to be able to be more limber with a stronger core. That’s all wonderful but without the entire body in sync together: our body, our mind and our soul then we will be out of balance. Feeling out of balance is like having a splinter in your foot, you may not be able to see it, but you certainly can feel it.
- Practice the Pose
Most of us have that one pose that we really want to be able to do. Then go for it! As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” As our yoga practice grows and changes so does our confidence and ability to expand our practice with new poses, stretches and breath work. For example, my head stand is not straight. I’m in pike position and I want to get my legs and hips up higher. I also do my headstand one leg at a time and would like to go straight up with my pike. I like doing it against the wall because I’m afraid I’m going to fall. Ricky Tran, Yoga Instructor, told me, “Divorce the wall.” That’s a subtle way of telling me to stop being a wimp and go for it. Debbi Levy, Yoga Instructor, told me to, “Keep practicing… it took me an entire summer of practice to finally be able to do a pose I wanted. You never know how long it will take but it comes easy now.”
I have heard people say to learn or master one new yoga pose per week or per month is a good goal. That’s not my reality. Everyone of us is going to learn in our own time. Some poses will be easier and come quicker and some will take a long time to master, but remember yoga is about your own practice at your own pace…not someone else’s.
- Read, Read & Read More
I always say, “The longer I’m around the less I know.” I am an avid reader the more I read on yoga, meditation, breathing, chakras etc. the more I learn and the more the world and universe becomes inspiring. Some of my favorite books to read every year is The Autobiography of Yogananda, The Eight Human Talents by Gurmukh, and The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama. Dallas Yoga Magazine always features new articles and topics every month. www.DallasYogaMagazine.com
Whatever your yoga passion is find a book and don’t just read it…study it, absorb it, enjoy it, discuss it and practice it.
- Expand Your Meditation…OHMMMM
“Meditation will not carry you to another world, but it will reveal the most profound and awesome dimensions of the world in which you already live. Calmly contemplating these dimensions and bringing them into the service of compassion and kindness is the right way to make rapid gains in meditation as well as in life.” ~Zen Master Hsing Yun
“Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.” ~Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
“Meditation is meeting eternity in the present moment. It is resolving every problem as it comes. It is resolving every tension as it creeps in. It is facing the challenges of life in a non-fearful way.” ~Vimala Thakar
Meditation can be frustrating at times. Instead of enjoying the present moment, our minds wonder off and we don’t find our inner peace and connection. Taking meditation classes helped me learn to focus on the NOW. I was taught how to turn my thoughts inward and upward to the universal spiritual connection. Groups with guided meditations are always useful and full of energy and peace. The sense of being in a group of like-minded individuals create an energy that is like no other.
There are many meditation classes offered online with meditation music and offer a great guide. Meditation is a process that becomes easier the more we do it.
Expand your yoga practice by making a commitment to yourself to meditate every day. Start with a few minutes and build up to a longer time frame. Meditation relieves stress and will enhance your physical yoga practice and potential.
- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
There are so many varieties of yoga classes to experience. It’s wonderful to have your favorite class and instructor, but venture out sometimes and try a class that’s completely different. You will find something you like and something you will learn in every yoga class. I am always amazed and grateful when I leave a class and my muscles are a tad sore. Often this means I used muscles I hadn’t been using or stretched them differently than usual and that is exactly what I need to be doing. A variety of yoga classes will make me stronger and well rounded. It’s also a wonderful way to meet new people in the yoga community and experience new studios.
- Eight Limbs of Yoga
If you are not familiar with the “Yoga Sutra” or “Eight Limbs of Yoga” by Patanjali and you are practicing yoga, then it is essential you take the time and read them. The eight-fold path is a way that offers us a life of purpose. It provides direction for a life with morals, ethics and self-discipline. I’m not going into detail on the topic because this is something that each yogi has to do on their own for their own personal practice. The picture above should give you an overview. Please take the time to research and study the “Eight Limbs of Yoga” and let’s strive to do our best to live our lives accordingly.
If we make a commitment to ourselves to expand our yoga practices, we will all be doing it together and making this world an incredible place to live.
AJ Crowell is the Publisher of Dallas Yoga Magazine and Co-Founder of Cosmic Yogi Movement & Festivals. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and read more articles by her at www.dallasyogamagazine.com. You can find more about Cosmic Yogi events at www.cosmicyogimovement.com