Friday, January 23, 2015

Week Two: Soreness and Zen

The path to yogi-ness is lined with sweat, practice, and tears. Ashtanga yoga is WORK. It is for everybody-but the lazy, at least that is how the saying goes. The second week of my intensive yoga training not only tested my physical muscles but also my emotional strength. Lesson: a lot of self-reflection can be painful, inspiring, and exhausting. Yoga opens  your eyes to your thinking-errors and to flaws in the poses, both of which take a lot of effort to fix. Honestly, this week I struggled. I was in a terrible mood almost everyday. I was not getting enough sleep or enough food which always leads to AngryJackie. To top matters off, the yoga that I once loved had transformed into the villain causing me endless stress. Blah. I flirted with the idea of quitting, taking the easy way out. 

The ups and downs of life. 

After reaching a low, things turned up again, as life always does. I kept practicing yoga and I found that love and peace again. Breathing really is incredibly magical. I felt the breathe move me through the practice. Energizing my body. Freeing my mind. 

Cool, huh?

Have I convinced you all to try yoga yet?

Okay, I will keep trying. 

Until next week!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Yoga: My Journey to Enlightenment

Very rarely in life do we have weeks that completely change us as a person, this was such a week. A combination of starting a new job and starting my path to becoming a yoga instructor taught me more than I thought possible--in just seven short day!. I was encouraged to teach yoga through my own experiences so I will be sharing them with you.

Although I have been going to yoga classes since I was 14, I didn't know how little I knew about yoga until this week. My idea of yoga has grown from a great way to exercise and meditate into a lifestyle that I want to adopt. My first day of class started out with floods of thoughts: "I can't..." "I wish I had..." and the classic "I am not good enough." I was surrounded by people I admired and it made me feel incredibly self-conscious. Small. Vulnerable. That is when I began to learn what yoga really means. 

Yoga can be defined as Unity. It is a way to create unity of the mind, body, and with God. Yoga helps us fix the senses leading us to a realization of your own true nature. My yoga guru keeps repeating about how yoga teaches us to look internally and find our Self. Self in Sanskrit has a very different meaning than we use in the West. Sri K. Pattabhi Jois teaches that the Self refers "to our higher, unchanging, eternal nature of pure consciousness, truth, and bliss." Or what us Mormons would call our Divine Nature. We had a yoga therapist come and teach our class on Saturday and something she said really stuck out to me: yoga is non-denominational; however, true practice of yoga connects us to a Higher-Being and is worshiping God. Many people think of yoga as a bunch of poses meant to stretch and tone your muscle--which is an awesome by-product. I believe that yoga is a way of unlocking the power and beauty of the soul and using that to bless others. Although I am still a beginning student, I have already felt the powerful effects in my life. I feel peace, happiness, and love after every practice. I am learning to let go of the critical and be inspired by the power of breath. I believe that bodies are temples and yoga is one way of tapping into our infinite good. 

Some of my favorite thoughts from class this week:

We have more power internally than we believe. We usually resort to external sources but yoga teaches us to look inward. 

There is more clarity in feeling than in thinking. 

Nothing is wrong or right in yoga because we are always progressing. Sometimes we are starting over and we have to be okay with the constant change by learning to be an observer. 

Okay, I could gush about yoga all day. But in closing I want to say that I am still scared, overwhelmed, and intimidated. Who knew following your dreams and inspiration could be so hard! I am keeping faith in the process. I am enjoying the self-realization and growth (no matter how painful). I feel empowered and capable. I have learned so much from my yoga teachers and I hope one day I can help foster self-love and awareness by helping others bring yoga into their lives.

Hopefully I can get through another three weeks of 30 hours+ of classes! Wish me luck!