Any passionate yoga teacher or student will tell you that yoga changes lives—again and again—regardless of whether they’re from a school of Bhakti Yoga (yoga of devotion) or a school of Yoga Asana (yoga postures).
Yoga, as a spiritual practice, has been around for thousands of years, while yoga as a physical practice has really only been widely practiced for the past century or so. But how does yoga transform people?
If you ask the Kundalini Yogis, they’ll tell you that when the nadis (internal energies) align, positive change is inevitable. If you ask the Ashtanga Yogis, they’ll tell you that physical practice cleanses the nerves and everything reveals itself in a natural progression.
So who is right?
The answer is simple: everyone! The real power of yoga is not in the outward form or the school of yoga (though no doubt some are more effective than others). The REAL power of yoga is that yoga itself is a system based almost exclusively on disciplined practice with just a skeleton structure of theory.
Here’s where this gets interesting…
You already know about the power of the mind, the power of thought and intention; but the challenge we face daily is that it’s infinitely more difficult to use your mind to change your mind than it is to use systematic and disciplined actions to do the same.
Whether you’re reciting the Yoga Sutras or practicing a handstand, this constant and continuous discipline is what gives such tremendous, visceral benefits; therefore, there’s no need to get caught up in the names and labels of yoga. Simply find a practice you love—and do it!
While religion is personal belief system that you may or might not subscribe to, yoga is a system of spiritual practices that is truly for everyone. So if you do your practice, whatever it is, positive change is inevitable.
FINDING A TEACHER
Do yourself a favor and experiment with different styles of yoga classes. Some will feel like torture, some will feel wonderful. Especially when you’re first learning, it’s extremely helpful to have a guide and someone to keep you on the right path.
You’ll find yoga studios are very welcoming for beginners; and even though it might seem strange or intimidating at first, you’ll discover that yoga students come from all walks of life. So open your mind, commit to practice, and see what changes are in store for you.
FINDING YOUR YOGA PRACTICE
The most important thing for you to do as a student is to find a style of yoga that excites you. Don’t judge yourself or others—just go with your gut feeling.
If you love to work out and sweat, try a Power-Vinyasa Yoga class or maybe a Bikram ‘Hot’ Yoga class. If you like quieter, more restorative practices, try Yin Yoga. And if you’re more devotional by nature, perhaps a Kundalini or Kripalu-style practice best suits you energetically.
Remember this: yoga is many things to many people, and whatever your background or beliefs, yoga is for you too.
PRACTICING AT HOME
In your home, if you have small room or even a corner of a room that you can make your “yoga space,” it’s best to be able to return again and again to the same place each day. If your yoga practice is prayer, pray out loud. If your practice is physical yoga poses, do them without reserve.
Self practice is the ultimate practice because it’s a clear sign that you have fallen in love with the positive power of disciplined action—the real secret of yoga. There are times when we love to “Go with the flow,” but to have the strong and stable anchor in your life that a committed yoga practice provides is equally wonderful.
GETTING OUT OF YOUR HEAD
Spiritually-minded people have a tendency to spend most of their waking hours in their head—in introspection. Introspection is powerful and will give you many insights, of course, but so will singing, chanting, and doing backbends.
If you doubt this at all, please put it to the test. Take just 15 minutes per day for the next week where you do no thinking at all. No self-inquiry or analyzing—just practice—and I promise you’ll be thrilled with the results.
Lucas Rockwood is a yoga teacher and trainer who lives between Spain and Thailand where he runs yoga courses and trainings. He is also the owner and director of YOGABODY Naturals LLC, an online resource center that provides at-home practice tools for yoga students.
Visit YOGABODY Naturals LLC today and sign up to receive Lucas’s Free, 7 Day eCourse, “Discover the 7 Secrets of Nutrition and Flexibility”
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