If you have been doing yoga for some time, you know that there are so many different styles of yoga out there to choose from – Or if you are not aware of the fact that there are indeed so many different kinds of yoga, you may be short-changing yourself. While some people are married singularly to one style of yoga and do not stray from that one style, I tend to Mix & Match according to my needs, while at all times, remaining faithful to the definition of yoga as taught in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 1.2:
yoga chitta vritti nirodhah, or
“yoga is the stilling of the fluctuations of the mind”
What does that have to do with being fit, being sculpted, losing weight, maintaining ideal weight …
Being well? What does that have to do with feeling whole and healthy? What does Yoga philosophy have anything to do with your fitness goals?
Yes, everything about your perception of how you look, how you feel, how healthy you truly are, is all about the mind as the mind is intertwined with your body … Mind & Body, Stilling (balance) the fluctuations (tensions and stress) of the mind (intimately connected to our body).
We are so lucky to have this abundance of yoga styles in this country but … why define Yoga in the confines of Power yoga or Ashtanga Yoga or Iyengar Yoga … essentially those are all about … put in a Asian definition – lineage; put in Western terminology – branding or schooling. Practicing Iyengar yoga would differ quite a bit from practicing Ashtanga yoga. Yoga style may also be affected by your age, not due to your physical capabilities but rather because answers to the following questions tend to be so different for each life’s stage – questions such as – What’s important to you now? – What are your concerns now? – What are your desires? What are your goals? What are your dreams? What challenges you?
*** Answers are different at your 20’s; 30’s; 40’s; 50’s; 60’s and beyond so … your practice will look different. Your horizon broadens to the vast possibilities. So for that reason, I really value teachers who have made the journey through all those life’s stages – and still practicing. That I so admire and respect – some of these master senior teachers are Srivatsa Ramaswami, Rodney Yee, Maty Ezraty, Judith Lasater, Richard Rosen, Gary Kraftsow, Sharon Gannon … I am sure many many more Gurus out there who may not be rock star famous but shows up each day and teaches the community of students, humbly – & I have nothing but sheer respect for those teachers who has been teaching over 10, 20, 30 years … it’s just amazing to witness that level of dedication. They bestow us a treasure trove of wisdom … so much dedicated practice to gather knowledge, wisdom amassed over their life time that they are now able to impart without preaching. But by doing. Improving our quality of life …if not curing, fixing or rescuing anything – it’s just that our lives are more enriched and made better by the practice.
We all are practicing to find Our Own Yoga… Our = “WAGA-A” means US or OUR in Japanese. And that’s my yoga. Yoga that’s our’s – it’s accessible and it belongs to all of us, customized and personalized for each of US.
What does that mean for me? For you?
Ideally if I had all day – a retreat – then that would be early morning Meditation or Yin yoga with luxurious juicy stretching to prepare for the day you enabled yourself to now move through with fluid grace and ease … if there’s time, engage in a well rounded Vinyasa Flow practice to ignite the power to fuel the day. Otherwise, I would just walk/hike in nature to bask drink up the morning sun. Or go frolic in the waves at a beach – do outdoor yoga in the forest. Do something that makes you perspire and thirsty, saluting the sun. Ignite some fire within; create heat. Then find a shade, a quiet place – for Restorative yoga at mid day or end of the day or after dinner OR again, a slower paced flow. Cool down and chill. Again, if there’s any specific health issues you are working on, I would work with a certified yoga therapist. As a treat, an evening may include a yoga nidra or yin/restorative practice. Then sometimes, you are compelled to check into a sweaty hot yoga class because … it’s just what you need. You have too much angst to burn. I am not the one to tell you what is good or not. You are the one to create positive learning experiences.
The next day may look a little different. Now you are back to work. You don’t have hours – you just have 20 minutes for self-care a day – then… then, what would you do? How would you weave in your own self-care amongst all that’s on your plate.
Try and find out. Experiment. You will know what kind of classes or a practice fits your personality and practically speaking, what actually fits into your day/week the best.
Short on time? Then have a yoga therapist customize a session you can take anywhere, after pinpointing what is it that really needs the most attention – Just 20 minutes a day – religiously followed.
You will see and feel the difference after 2 weeks.
Yes, you will.
Yoga is all that in Yoga Sutras. It’s transformative.