Yoga isn’t just about Relaxation…and other interesting tidbits

Good morning my loves! It’s another grey morning out there, but the rain seems to have stopped for now and even that seems a relief.

I just watched a quickie video interview with Rajashree (Choudhury) and the final word from the new caster was something about being relaxed for the next segment. While I FULLY agree that yoga DOES create relaxation in the body/mind/spirit, I think it is an energizer in those areas as well…don’t you think? I started doing this practice (Bikram Yoga) in the summer of 2000. I did it because a couple friends recommended it to me. I had been doing other yoga at the community center and this sounded interesting (btw, I don’t even think either of them mentioned it was HOT…but maybe I just don’t remember correctly). I have been doing this practice of yoga for over 11 years and have been teaching for almost 9. I could not even begin to tell you the amount of classes I’ve taken or taught over those years.

I will tell you this, though, I have had times of more yoga and less yoga and what I have come to believe and know in my head heart and soul is that whatever you decide for you in your practice is what is right for you in your practice. There are challenges going on all over the world right now…30/60/YEAR! challenges…yogis who have decided to do a challenge because it’s happening, or because a friend is doing it or because they want to lose weight or or or. I have done many a challenge in my years and after the last 30 day I did I decided I would not do one again (that was almost 2 years ago). I found myself in that challenge begrudging the yoga and my HAVING to go to class. WHY WOULD I WANT TO EVER HATE HAVING TO GO TO CLASS?? I know, the challenge is to show you how strong you are and how in the face of adversity you really CAN do something and give you a sense of accomplishment etc etc…and so many other things it can give/show you. But when I found myself on days being angry about going to class I decided then and there that I don’t ever want to go to the yoga room feeling angry that I’m there or wishing I wasn’t…

Yoga is about whatever you want it to be about. On the surface it is so good for the physical body. It stretches the whole body, the spine, and helps to counteract the effects of daily life (the sitting, the carrying, the stress and tension we hold…). As you practice more you start to realise the mental benefits of clearer thinking, increased relaxation, quieter mind, better judgement and/or choices…and the list goes on. A few months ago there were a string of articles about how yoga isn’t actually good for your back and body. Isn’t that the truth about anything and everything if practiced incorrectly or for the wrong reasons (people often refer to the people who push themselves to do more than the body will allow or is willing and ready to do as ego driven…this includes yogis and all athletes alike…come to think of it the same goes for people driven in all areas of life…alas, that is for another post). For me now (and, don’t get me wrong, I have done many postures and things with my body at a time that my body was maybe not ready to do but I did it anyhow…and I’ve had many messages from my body that it’s had enough. Some pains I feel and have felt are movement and healing and some are self-infliced. I totally get that now and understand the difference between ego-ing into postures and practicing yoga…) yoga is truly about the union. The coming together of the body, mind and spirit. I spend my time in the yoga room reminding myself to enjoy this life and enjoy this body enjoy the sensations I’m feeling because I CAN feel them! Most of us spend our entire lives trying to find this union and see only glimpses of it…but isn’t that the fun in life?


3 responses to “Yoga isn’t just about Relaxation…and other interesting tidbits

  • rob

    Hi Ida- I’m a little curious about what I’m seeing as a contradiction in your posts. In this post, you comment that you’ll never do a 30 day challenge again, but post dated 03/01/12, you comment “. So, in the past 6 weeks, practicing every day and doing advanced class twice/week,…”

    Is daily practice differnt from a 30 day challenge in some regard? I’m not trying to call you out, but I’m just wondering if you could clarify what you meant. Your posts are very helpful, so I’m just curious to see this out.

    • yogagyrl

      Hi Rob. Thanks for your comment. Yup, I did make the comment about not doing a 30 day challenge and in January of this year i got swept up in the energy of a challenge again…so I kept it under my hat that I was doing a challenge of my own…however, I tailored it toy self and how I like to practice (which, I know for myself, is not EVERY day, but with a day off each week to ten days).
      The thing is, you see, this is a life long practice for me and as I am constantly changing and growing, so is my yoga practice and what I need in/from my yoga practice. Experiment experiment experiment!! And patience and exploration and listening to my body.
      Hope that helps….thanks for visiting!

      • rob

        i had such an intensely awesome honeymoon with Bikram that i think, by now, i’m actually “chasing the dragon,” as it were. my first class was last year january, and i started adding classes per week slowly and gradually. i had an idealized goal of a daily practice… but i’m not sure where i really got that from where it seemed so convincing. i’m usually pretty critical of crap science or other misinformations. i could say that i feel a little brainwashed, and i wouldn’t be lying. but mostly, i think i’m over doing it. THAT, or i want to do yoga more than i can sustain a Bikram practice… which is a little sad. i tend to think my studio keeps it a little way too hot (what’s the use of anything above 104F? 104F should be a hard ceiling, and i’m of the mind that the relative heat index should be seriously considered)… so in writing this, i think i’m frustrated that i paid so much for something that i can’t use the way i want. i’m here in Seattle.

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