“Yoga does not remove us from the reality or responsibilities of everyday life, but rather places our feet firmly and resolutely in the practical ground of experience. We don’t transcend our lives; we return to the life we left behind in the hopes of something better.” - Donna Farhi
When I first saw the notice for the inversions workshop, I was excited. But after I signed up and paid, I was nervous. When the day arrived and I was warming up on my mat, I was terrified! What if I was the worst one there? What if I fell on my face? What if I fell on my neighbor? So many fears.
I may very well have been the worst one there, but I did not fall on my face, nor did I fall on my neighbor. What I did do was find the strength to push myself further than I’d gone before.
If you practice yoga, chances are someone is going to ask you what yoga is and why you do it. I have answered both of these questions time after time over the years and it never ceases to amaze me how much misinformation is circulating, based on stereotypes or without thinking.
I was talking to my brother a few weeks ago, expressing how great yoga would be for my niece who is a very flexible athlete. His response? “She’ll start yoga when she’s 50 and starts to slow down.” You would think I would have taken this opportunity to inform him of the various styles of yoga available, the mental and physical benefits of yoga for all ages, and the need for an athlete to balance sports strength and power with the flexibility and healing benefits of yoga—but I didn’t. Instead I sat there stunned.
The first exposure to yoga is crucial. Most of us identify and define subjects so quickly — we build an entire framework for our understanding of a subject sometimes within our first couple of encounters.
It is a classic scene – you trip and fall, and your first knee-jerk reaction is to see if anyone saw you.
When I teach tree pose in yoga class, most everyone looks as if it is a matter of life or death whether they stay up on one leg for the duration. But fear is not helpful in navigating balance.
Mountain Pose is about learning to stand on your feet and connect to Mother Earth. It is about finding the alignment of your skeleton and subtly moving in and out of a fluid center.