I live in Vancouver, BC and for me yoga (and yoga teacher training) has always been a break from society or “reality”. It is the only exercise class that allows you to step away from your phone, work, family, school, stress.
There are no distractions. Just you, connecting with your breath, your body and your mind, which creates a feeling of such calmness amidst whatever is going on in your life. That’s why, I believe that yoga is for everyone.
Unlike society, it doesn’t judge. The old, the young, the injured, the athletic, the dancers, the religious, the non-religious – yoga does not discriminate. Once you step foot on your mat, you have the ability to step away from your chaos.
You have the ability to forget about deadlines, what the future holds for you, the grief you’re holding onto, the fight with your partner. You can, for the duration of the practice, let go. Anyone can do that.
It doesn’t matter how much weight you’re lifting or how fast you can run on the treadmill – no one is watching you, no one is judging, there are no numerical standards. It’s you, on your mat, doing what feels good to you.
In today’s society, especially with social media, it’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others and having to showcase the best version of yourself.
Comparison is the thief of peace. Having to always showcase the best picture of yourself or the best vacation you went on is unrealistic. We have bad days. In yoga, your mat will accept whatever.
Your instructor doesn’t care what the people beside you are doing, if it’s your first time trying a pose, if you’ve had a terrible day, and neither should you. Yoga is your chance to close your eyes, breathe, and be 100 percent authentic.
For those who have never fully given themselves, and their mind, to a yoga practice it is hard to understand.
But for anyone who has wholeheartedly given themselves to their practice, they will tell you, it is a feeling like none other.
Your body is pushed to poses and places it has never gone before and your mind has never been so aware. Every breath, every stretch, every throb in the muscle.
That’s why, as much as your body feels the effects, your mind feels it more. The attention to how you are feeling, how you are breathing, how you are moving. Yoga offers a sense of mindfulness and awareness that is rarely found in other areas of exercise. Your mind is at peace.
You’re forced to be kind to yourself and your body. That’s why I hope to empower anyone to try yoga and to continue to practice. I hope to remind people to thank themselves, be proud of themselves and be grateful for the time they spent on the mat. Yoga classes are a chance for people to walk out feeling amazing.
An instructor once in a class I attended that “yoga is not a work-out, it’s a work-in. We see deep inside ourselves, and we can’t always control what goes on in life, but we can always control what goes on inside ourselves.”
So, in short, yoga is a chance to confront yourself, move your body and reflect on the way you view the world and more importantly, on the way you view YOU. Even if it is for 20 minutes or an hour.