Desire Yoga

Find your center. Know your strength. Thrive.


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What Yoga Body? I’m Weighing in…

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I’ve been sitting on this for a while. I’ve been conflicted about whether or not I should comment on the skinny yoga articles, the fat yoga articles, the yoga for every body articles…and I find myself finally sitting down to write this—unable to not comment on the issue of yoga and body image. I think this is the most appropriate place to address my thoughts since this volume of Lotus Petals: Lesson Guides to Deepen Your Yoga Practice concerns Asana. Asana means seat or posture, originally referring to the seat or posture taken for meditation. It has expanded to include a variety of postures which tone the body, calm the nervous system and teach breath awareness.

As a teenager, I weighed up to 175 pounds then lost much of it to weigh 135 pounds. Currently, I weigh anywhere from 145 to 150 pounds depending on the season, the time of day and other things. So, I am very familiar with body image issues. At this point in my life, I also understand coming to our mats to practice yoga is our chance to forget about the image of our body. We practice yoga in order to become familiar with our body and acknowledge it.

So, let’s take a leap into the rabbit hole. I’ll repeat here something you may have already learned. Yoga is not about your body. Yoga is about you. Through yoga, an individual has the opportunity to find their true self, the self that no one sees, their secret self. When we practice yoga, we move the body to get into the body, so we may eventually quiet the body and in turn our minds.

We move through our days so rapidly; we don’t even know where we are in space. It is a figure of speech, but it is also very literal when people wonder aloud, “Now, where am I?” Sometimes, we really just don’t know where we are in our day, in our lives or in our relationships. We move so rapidly we neglect to be mindful of those things, not through any fault of own, but through habit, conditioning and social expectations. Ineffectual habits, social conditioning and expectations build a fortress of neglect. We neglect one another, and we neglect ourselves.

As I mentioned before, with a yoga practice, we gain the opportunity to get into our bodies, to bring our complete awareness to bear on our movements, becoming focused on the present moment. This level of focus allows us get out of our heads. It allows us to slow and abandon the parade of thoughts rampaging through our minds without end. Ironically, when we sit for meditation or to simply relax and return to our thoughts, this same movement quiets and calms the mind imbuing us with a fundamental sense of well-being.

In our media laden society, we are inundated with pretty pictures of people doing beautiful asanas. The human body is a miracle. It is a working, living breathing evolving miracle, and these pictures are beautiful. However, they are not reality. Yoga is not always pretty. It is not always the nice neat categorical package promoted to consumers. Yoga is life. Yoga is awkward on occasion. Yoga can be messy. Yoga is sweaty. Yoga is sexy. Yoga is every thing that life is, because yoga is union. It is the integration of the mind, body and spirit. Yoga practice is grace filled; it is not always graceful. I have fallen on nose and my bum; I have stressed and strained muscles. My shoulder tweaks every now and then as I write this. The reality of yoga makes it a beautiful path of discovery.

This same reality is in part the beauty of the current ‘Yoga is for every body’ movement. However, as teachers and as practitioners, we cannot forget: yoga is not about the body. The body is a vehicle for our souls and yoga gives us the means to live happily with the bodies we have. When we practice yoga, we find our body’s capabilities and limitations while reshaping it and cultivating it to be the perfect space to house our beautiful souls. We practice yoga to annihilate the boundaries in ourselves and in our lives so we can recognize, explore and manifest infinite possibilities. So, when you think about your body and you look at the pictures in yoga magazines, on blogs, on Facebook and on Instagram, remember those pictures belong to the individuals taking that journey. Those bodies belong to those individuals and your body is your own; you get to write your journey however you choose.

Yoga is not about the body. The body is a tool. The body is a space for the priceless and rewarding work of freeing your soul.

From Lotus Petals: Lesson Guides to Deepen Your Yoga Practice, Volume I: Asana 

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Join Me for an Ahimsa Themed Practice

Ahimsa (nonviolence)=Compassion + Courage

In observance of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 19, I’ll be offering a shared yoga practice. The theme will be ahimsa. We will share a loving kindness meditation and a centering yoga practice.

The session will be at The Studio, 4567 Indian Creek Parkway, Overland Park, KS at 6:45pm. There is no charge to participate. Please, sign-up using this sign-up link @The Studio. Space is limited.


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Synchronicity Comes with Listening

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Picture Source: Pinterest board Spirit by Jessica M.

Synchronicity happens when work and preparation come together to create some fortuitous circumstance. It’s the right place; it’s the right time. You’re the right person and good things happen.

While living in sync requires us to take cues from the world around us, part of living in sync involves listening well to ourselves. This does not happen in an egocentric way, but in a way where you ask yourself: What is true? What is real? What shall be done? Then, listen for the answer.

Recommended reading:

8 Ways to be Your Own Guru
http://www.gaiamtv.com/article/8-ways-be-your-own-guru?cid=soc:twitter:myyoga


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Harness Your Breath

As the breath goes, so go the body and the mind. Every state of being, every state of conciousness posseses a particular quality of breath: a quick inhalation denoting surprise or fear, the slow sigh of contentment, the widely varied patterns of breath which accompanies laughter, etc. The breath is the gateway to our mind and body connection.

Next time you find yourself in a not so great mood, try laughing out loud for a few minutes. Find your way to a good sincere belly laugh, a chuckle, a giggle. Then back off the laughter naturally. You’ll feel better. It works because your body and your mind will follow your laughing breath. Harness your breath.

Here are two quotes about the breath to wrap up the week:

You know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air. The organ that serves for this is the lungs that lie round the heart, so that the air passing through them thereby envelops the heart. Thus breathing is a natural way to the heart. And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart and, together with this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the heart and to remain there. ~Nicephorus the Solitary
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The practice is simply this: keep coming back to your breath during the day. Just take a moment. This will give your mind a steadiness and your breath a gracefulness…. There’s so much to let go of, isn’t there? Your nostalgia and your regrets. Your fantasies and your fears. What you think you want instead of what is happening right now. Breathe. ~Rodney Yee, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body

Quote source: http://www.quotegarden.com/breathing.html