My Yoga

Sthira & Sukha.

Sthira & Sukha.

I was asked by a student recently if I thought yoga would go out of style. We talked a bit about the “fad” that somehow got labeled as “yoga”, but left it at that.  Needless to say, the question stuck with me. North American yoga culture is packaged up so neatly in Lululemon leggings, green smoothies, rockin’ abs and cool playlists.  People go to class to supplement their gym routine or to “tune out for a bit”. And hey, with a little luck and the right outfit, the cute guy at the Tuesday night Power class might finally ask you out. Many non-yogis perceive the practice as a sport, or type of workout for people who want to lose weight, gain flexibility, and get that “ideal” body.

Are we a culture of people that are missing the point?

Yoga comes from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, which means “to yoke”, or to unite. Thus, the definition of yoga is, “the union of mind, body and spirit”. Yet, if someone asked me to define yoga, I wouldn’t say this. I may have stuck to this clear and simple definition once, but the more I come to the mat I realize that those words – that experience – is not my own. It’s a bit more complicated to explain than that.

My Yoga is letting go and holding on. It is changing and growing, and it is staying true to myself. My Yoga giving and it is receiving, breaking down and building up. It is about knowing with all my heart, and venturing into the unknown. It is being terrified, but finding the courage to keep going. My Yoga is my breath, every inhale and every exhale. It is believing that the impossible is, in fact, entirely possible, and that I have the power to make this world – this universe – a better place. My yoga is about finding balance, but still allowing myself to fall. Sthira and sukha, yin and yang.

My Yoga is exactly that: my own. It is the special, sacred and unique practice of finding myself… and then letting go.

What is your yoga?


One Comment

  1. kyla austin December 20, 2013 at 12:33 am

    I actually wanted to comment on your ‘positive change’ post but there does seem to be a place for comments, but luckily i can drop a few lines here.

    “What’s wrong with me that I desperately want my career as a yoga teacher to work?”

    there is nothing wrong with you, or that dream. nothing at all. i am in a similar place, trying to build a business from the ground up and learn how to be a business person, which i am not that good at. carving your own path is difficult and often i stop and think “what am i thinking? what am i doing here?” especially with two little daughters to look out for as well. Is it selfish to try to carve my own route out of life when i should OBVIOUSLY just pick up a full-time job somewhere? or even, you know, use my university degree for what its intended to be used for? my father-in-law will never, ever understand why i choose this work over what he sees as a ‘real’ job.

    as a doula, theres often little stability in my work. i get paid only as often as i can find clients, and often i offer services at a reduced cost for families that cannot afford the full price. and as a doula, it means that i can never take on a full time and inflexible day job because i always have to be able to leave at the beck and call of a momma in labour. but i chose this work because it suits me – i can make my own schedule, i can take on as much or as little work as i want to, i am never working under anyone or have to answer to a higher power. i assume that yoga is similar in some ways.

    so when you are re-thinking the choice to carve your own path, just know that theres a lot of other people doing the same thing, all the time. stick to it and have faith. theres a reason that you are choosing to do this, and i am choosing to do this, even though its tough. its because it feeds out souls.

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