This is a question I get a lot these days. Yes - I do, but it may be different than what you think. One of the things that happens to you when you begin a yoga practice is simple - your life will change. However, most new practitioners with less than 5 years under their belts are intently focused on the physical side of yoga and barely even scratch the surface with what is about to begin unraveling within them mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
I like this graphic by Alison Hinks of the 8 limbs. Most of the people I speak to don't even know there are 8 limbs to practicing yoga - frankly Western society is still stuck on yoga being a room full of flexible people just stretching out in their tight yoga pants. And to be clear, many businesses are capitalizing on this ignorance. Those of us in the sangha teaching community smile and say, any yoga is better than no yoga, because we know that even when your intention is to get better abs and a yoga booty, that you will at some point in the class...even if its just a few minutes...begin to meditate, reduce your thought activity as well as focus on your breath. But, as you can see in the graphic above, we haven't even scratched the surface. Yoga practice begins with the practice of the Yamas and the Niyamas, yoga postures or Asana is just one small part of the practice.
The answer to the question above however is yes, I still teach. I teach in the way I practice the Yamas and Niyamas toward myself and others. I no longer punish myself by overindulging in rich foods and drink then go to a hot yoga class to pay for my sins. Instead, I choose healthy foods and plenty of water on a daily basis and I thoroughly enjoy the balance and challenge the 90 minute class brings. It's amazing the difference in this one approach. I practice Satya with my actions and also my words - it IS difficult as I like many others have bad habits that have formed over the years and I have to make note and try again. The hardest type of learning is unlearning, as they say. I practice Asteya with my time and boundaries - I don't run 100 miles an hour with my hair on fire anymore. I share this insight with anyone in my path. I remain calm and when I'm not calm, I acknowledge that and take the time I need to find that vibration again. Yes - I still teach, in fact I teach more now than I ever did when I was solely teaching yoga. And yes, I do teach 90 minute classes from time to time as well.
My question to you is, do you practice? How do you apply yoga in your daily life? How often do you consider the Yamas? How often do you study the Self? Are you aware of what study of the Self actually means? How often do you consider your own contentment and stop wanting, needing, grasping for more? How often do you consider Soucha and your mental diet (what you read, what you watch, what you listen to)?
If rarely, or never... then can you truly say you practice yoga?
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Click HERE for my Yogatta Eat blog, food and nutrition tips dating back to 2010.
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