As the summer season begins to become part of the past and we return to a “normal” schedule, I’m reminded that there is still something celebratory as we slowly make our way into the autumn season. It’s yoga!
September is National Yoga Month. It is a national health observance designated by the Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of this initiative is to bring awareness of the many health benefits that yoga has to offer. For over a decade, SAS has honored this observance and has created opportunities to inspire and motivate employees and families to achieve a healthy lifestyle through a variety of yoga avenues. It’s a beautiful thing to see. Not only have our yoga numbers grown, but I've personally witnessed countless individuals improve their practice and grow as individuals.
T.K.V. Desikachar, yoga teacher and scholar, noted that the goal of yoga is to encourage us to be a little better than we were before, embracing every opportunity that helps us progress. I’ve remembered that quote and believe that there are many facets to yoga (on and off the mat). We may initially come to yoga to get a workout or relieve stress. Maybe we seek yoga as a means to escape and create an island of solitude on our mat. We feel good with the practice…we’re more open and relaxed and then we enter society again. Our tranquility dissolves and we crave that feeling we had in yoga, so we return. Yoga sneakily turns into something else. Creating shapes and breathing brings us clarity and helps us move through the process of simply letting go and finding our inner tranquility. By approaching the pose as a means of investigation, exploring the boundaries and the breath, we find patience and our better selves. It doesn’t happen overnight but it can happen if you begin and create a firm foundation, rooting yourself and growing from the ground-up and not seeking to attain the perfect practice. There is something to learn each time you step on your mat. Through this education, we can extend this lesson beyond the mat.
Here are some helpful hints whether you’re new to the practice or not.
- You don’t have to be able to touch your toes before you come to class. Yoga can assist you with flexibility.
- Newbies…choose the class format that matches your practice. We have many formats to choose from at SAS. Before you attend (class at SAS or in your town/city), check out the levels and descriptions to find the class that fits. This can alleviate a lot of frustration so you can truly be in the practice.
- Trouble being still? If so, ask yourself why. Yoga can help as you continue to practice. We all have to-do lists and concerns that distract us, but let yoga be your time to simply be.
- Come as you are and embrace the poses that you don’t like. These are most likely the ones you need.
- Last but not least, begin with a beginner’s mind. Let your assumptions release and see each class as an opportunity for growth.
Find your path. Give yourself permission to listen to your body, mind and spirit.
Maybe it has something to tell you.
~ Namaste, Celeste ~