Get Your Head Out of Your Asana

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I mean it in the best way.

I’m taking about yoga guys.  To clarify, Asana is the physical practice of postures.  For many people when they think about yoga, pictures of triangle pose, warrior 2, crow and lotus come to mind.  These are all Asana postures- the physical practice.

Don’t get me wrong, Asana is great- it’s lifesaving, strengthening, releasing, calming and invigorating.  But stopping at Asana would be like stopping in the doorway of a temple and saying “wow this is great” then turning around to go home.   There is so much more space to explore.

It’s ok if you’re not ready to explore what is beyond the door, but I want you to know that there is more if you are open- many of us are just beginning to scratch the surface.  If you practice Asana, you’ve already gotten a taste of it: be it through the theme of your favorite instructor’s class, through the deep even ujjayi breathing, through the discipline of practicing yoga itself or the overwhelming sense of peace in savasana.

Before I became a yoga teacher, I always found myself drawn to the teachers who could tell a story.  Be it a story from the Bhagavad Gita, a poem, a personal experience or practice.  It was these stories that inched me through the doorway of Asana and on to seek my teacher training certification where I learned about the 8 branches of yoga:

  • Yama: Universal morality
  • Niyama: Personal Observances
  • Asanas: Body postures
  • Pranayama: Breathing exercises, and control of prana
  • Pratyahara: Control of the senses
  • Dharana: Concentration and cultivation inner perceptual awareness
  • Samadhi: Union with the Divine

While in teacher training, I experienced changes that went beyond my postures.  Yes- I had better alignment and body awareness; yes- my flexibility grew as well as my strength.  But, I also noticed I was slower to slip into reaction when faced with confrontation; I noticed I was able to use my breath to calm myself in stressful situations;  I noticed an improvement in relationships with friends and family.   I was able to start practicing yoga off the mat.

I share this with you as I explore my vision and intention for the next Dirty South Yoga Fest:

The next Dirty South Yoga Fest shares all 8 limbs of yoga through creative and collaborative experiences.  Yes there is Asana. Yes there is community. Yes there is so much more.

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