What is your first thought when you hear the word yoga? Do you imagine a fit body balanced with perfect precision with one leg drawn up behind the head, a look of calm and peace on the face and a constant humming sound of Ommmmm emanating from some distant realm? Well, this might be one idea of what yoga is. Actually there are so many ideas, styles and forms of what yoga is. The actual translation of yoga is to unify or unite, and Hatha Yoga is the physical form to connect with this unification within the body, mind and spirit. Hatha yoga encompasses everything from simple to complex, from traditional to new, from types such as Power to Flow to Hot to Yin to Restorative and even Pilates... Hatha is the connection of physical and mental aspects of the body.
One does not have to have a special degree in flexibility to practice yoga. The yoga word for the physical posture “asanas” actually means to be in, or hold, a pose with ease. Discovering how each body moves, articulates, and holds within a space of conscious awareness of the moment. The physical connection to the posture then leads into a single minded focus that leads into meditative states that allow the mind to relax and, at the same time, expand. If you can flip your foot over your head while standing, good for you, and if you can sit on a cushion with your legs out straight, or one foot in front of the other, and your back relaxed... awesome! As Alan Watts states, “This is is the yoga of life...”. Everything you do unites into one singularity of your life as it is.
Every event or experience you encounter in your life is yoga. Yes, we get lost sometimes in the muck and the stress and the dark and the confusion of things sometimes. But this is where we learn, where we flourish as human beings. With everyone seeking to be “the light”, the “enlightened”, the “most honoured”... we sometimes forget that we’re here to have a “human experience”. And this is the yoga we practice each day. We invite into our lives these experiences that shape and mold us. Carving out a very special human being. And when we “connect” to that which is higher, deeper, bigger, simpler, we connect to the unity within us that connects to that energy that created us... the Universe.
Yes, yoga can be complicated, our lives can be complicated, life can get a little dirty sometimes. But what happens when we start to look at how we can choose to wake up each day honouring the day, filling it with possibilities and opportunities to be human once again. Sharing stories, playing in this great playground we call earth and taking in each moment with a sense of wonder and mystery. Like the ubiquitous symbol of enlightenment portrays... the lotus. It grows not in the lush fertile soil of a mountain top... it grows up from the swamps and the muck and the darkness in some of the dankest places on earth. Sometimes we need to have swampy moments in our lives to appreciate the beauty and brilliance of what can be born from each of us.
...om if you want to... or just smile and say “thanks Universe, we do amazing yoga together”.