Here's a little snapshot of the talk I gave at the TAKE AIM workshop. A program for Mum entrepreneurs.
Yoga is more than poses on the mat, but the poses are the way in.
Traditionally, Yoga was what we now refer to as meditation. The old Yogis would sit for hours, days even, in meditation. They found they became too stiff and too sore. Yoga asana, sanskrit for poses) was designed to move and stretch their bodies in preparation for long bouts of seated meditation.
Patanjali, who wrote the Yoga sutras, a very old text, famously said in them, “Yoga is the practise of quietening the mind.” A physical practise provides you with something to focus on, the movement, while you work on stilling your monkey mind. Other practises like meditation, pranayama (breathing techniques) and relaxation, can be more challenging when it comes to quietening the mind, because we are not DOING, we are just BEING.
Maintaining a solid asana practise, with two little children is hard. When I do roll my mat out, I instantly become a climbing frame, something fun to play on and the moment is gone. As a mum, it is reassuring to me that to keep up my daily “YOGA”, I can do things beside physical yoga. I don't need to be on my mat for more than an hour a day.
This can also be reassuring for those of you who are not exercisers. If physical exertion doesn’t excite you, then you could still be a yogi!
So if you are not doing down dog, what can you do? It could literally be anything:
⁃ Yoga asana - anywhere from’ 5 minutes to one+ hours.
⁃ sitting in quiet reflection
⁃ relaxation - guided, use of an app
If you value self care, then I really encourage you to FIND YOUR YOGA.
Yoga is not about touching your toes, but about what you learn on the way down.
The practise of Yoga is not only a physical practise, although it can be. Getting onto your Yoga mat can be purely about flexibility, gaining strength or learning to do a headstand.
But I guarantee, even if that is your motivation for starting, you will experience something more than that, over time. What happens on the mat, can teach us so many lessons about ourselves, if we are open to it - lessons like how we handle challenge, how to quiet our negative self talk, how open we are to new situations, how to experience acceptance and how to manage emotions.
The pose begins when you want to leave it.
I love this quote and when I first heard it I actually didn’t understand it. I was very new to Yoga at the time and the notion that I was doing something more than a physical practise was lost on me.
So what does it mean? The work doesn’t start until you get uncomfortable. Now this is true for all styles of exercise, not just Yoga. It could be when you are strength training at the gym, it could be a high intensity boxing class or it could be holding a challenging yoga pose for several breaths. Have you ever seen Michelle Bridges break someone down in the gym on the Biggest Loser? It’s the notion that, when the going gets tough, people’s lives start to change.
When you sit with something which is painful, hard or simply not fun, it can transform you. If you quit or give up in these times, you may never achieve the things you are capable of.
In Yoga, when you feel like this, you breathe. Just breathe. And the energy moves through you. And guess what? You get through it. It ends.
It can be easy to give up or take the easy route. But knowing how to breathe through those times, and let the negative energy move on, can be life changing.
Recently I just ran my first Yoga retreat. From the time I announced it, till the weekend arrived, was about four months. The amount of times in those four months I wanted to give up, not bother or say “near enough is good enough” I honestly couldn't count!! I was so out of my comfort zone. It was vastly different planning and organising my weekly classes.
But I kept going. I breathed. I quiet my negative self-talk. And it was a huge success. And I will definitely be running more of them.
Hi, I'm Nikki...
...a Yoga teacher in a country town in Qld. I love to bring high quality Yoga to this community. Yoga is never just about the poses on the mat. It's so much more! I love sharing relatable themes with my students and creating meaningful sequences. I'd love you to come along and share Yoga with me, in my classes, workshops or on retreat.