Yoga, and hot yoga in particular, has been a practice I’ve wanted to tackle. Here is the result of my personal challenge, as a dancer, to pursue a yoga for 30 days. (View Post – My 30-day Yoga Challenge)
In Sanskrit, Yoga means “yoking.”
This yoking refers to the union between body and mind. Or more spiritually, the union of the individual with God. Through the poses of the a yoga practice, some may seem easy, while others a struggle to balance and stay focused. And how prevalent it that for our daily lives. How our minds react to minor endeavors follow us into our daily bodies.
When I started this challenge, I needed an outlet outside of the dance world (rehearsing, performing, teaching) to focus my energy. I was becoming an emotional roller-coaster. Some days, I floated through the day with ease, while others were a push. Trust me, I know we all have those days. However, if I felt confident in managing myself, I would be able to communicate so much better with others.
Through these 30 days, I have accepted that change is inevitable. Who we interact with, how we feel emotionally, what we eat, how much we sleep, where we are located… It is so important to never judge ourselves or become attached to a particular identity.
I am currently reading this fascinating book by Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi, titled Flow, about the attainment of happiness. Perfectly enough, there a mini chapter on “The Ultimate Control: Yoga and the Martial Arts.” Flow describes yoga as having multiple stages at gaining self-control.
“The first two stages [of a yoga practice] are intended to change a person’s attitudes. They attempt to reduce psychic entropy as much as possible before the actual attempts at mental control begin.”
“Yoga involves building up increasingly higher levels of skill in controlling consciousness.”
As cheesy as it may sound, I have also picked up and revisited certain chapters of Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. There are a few quote from the Pray chapters in India I found insightful.
“Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future.”
“Destiny is the play between divine grace and willful self-effort.”
“Live on that shimmering line between your old thinking and your new understanding, always in a state of learning.”
One of my favorite teachers at Open Door, Tiffany, said that you learn to love the poses you hate. I have found that very true. You would think as a dancer, the balancing series would be a piece of cake… not true. (Below are 3 poses I have learned to love.) Finding the physical and mental strength to maintain a pose on one leg, in a 98 degrees room, without falling on your neighbor is quite a challenge.
All in all, I am so grateful for the dedication I put into my yoga practice because I feel more grounded. Being able to take yoga everyday for 30-days allowed be to feel comfortable and confident in the terminology and practice. Although I won’t go crazy and take Hot Yoga every day, like I did, but I will continue to improve my practice a few times a week as I do in the ballet studio every day. Yoga guided me to be more centered.
I was inspired to write this post by the team over at Casper, a startup making outrageously comfortable memory foam mattresses.