A question often asked by yoga students and non-yogis alike is, “What makes yoga different than other forms of movement and exercise?”
In its original context, yoga is a practice of spiritual development. Intrinsic to the practices and techniques of yoga are an element of self-inquiry. This inquiry brings discovery and realization. At their very core, these practices hold an intention of becoming your best self; more aware, more discerning, and less prone to dis-ease, just to name a few.
The ‘apex pose’ of your yoga is how you posture yourself in life. My most influential teachers have encouraged me to measure my progress on the path by asking myself these questions. Am I a nicer person? Am I better in my relationships? Am I more connected to the world around me? In other words, progress is not about the poses you can do on the sticky mat, it’s about how you show up in the world.
When I come to the mat I am not just moving, stretching, and strengthening my physical body, I am working through my stuff. And I always know that when I get a bit grumpy, impatient, or lack my usual joy, I am simply not getting enough time on the mat.
Does your yoga practice help you become stronger, more aware, and more compassionate an individual? If so, what are you doing with that outside of the yoga studio?
When you are stronger, you can stand up for those more vulnerable. When you are more aware, you make better choices for yourself, for those around you, and for the planet and its future. When you are more compassionate, you are kinder to others. You can be richer with generosity and give your time, resources, and services to those in need.
This week I invite you to take some time for self-reflection. How do you mark your progress on the path?
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