Yoga 101: So Where Do I Start?
Welcome to 2013!
To go along with what I am teaching in my yoga group classes and to my private yoga students I am going to be blogging about yoga subjects that can assist in both beginning a yoga practice (sadhana) and in deepening an existing spiritual practice (of any kind). Since the new year often brings the creation of a new intention (sankalpa) this might be the perfect time for you to begin your journey inwards.
My own yoga journey began from an intellectual perspective as as one of my majors in college was Philosophy. Although I had danced pre-professional ballet for over 15 years, it was actually yoga's approach to the mind that so intrigued me. A brief yet profound glimpse into the philosophical/spiritual systems of Taoism (from studying the Tao Te Ching), Buddhism (from studying the Dhammapada) and Yoga (from studying Patanjali's Yoga Sutras) radically rocked my worldview.
Now I find similarities far more than differences between spiritual traditions. Themes of compassion, forgiveness, Presence and Being are within all major religions and philosophical/spiritual practices.
My own religious preference is LOVE.
My own spiritual practice is COMPASSION.
My own daily adventure is FORGIVENESS.
And guess who I start with first???
I strive to love myself, all of me . . .
in order to love others, all of you.
I practice compassion towards myself at all times,
in all activities. . .
so that I will be able to show others heart-felt compassion
in all circumstances.
I attempt in every moment to forgive myself
of every real and imagined fault . . .
so that I hold no resentment or anger towards any other.
~ ~ ~
My Spiritual Practice in One Word: AHIMSA
So in my teachings for 2013 (and in my own life)I am going to begin with this yoga practice. In the Yoga Sutras written by Patanjali over 2,000 years ago he systematized yoga into what is now referred to as 'classical yoga'. He outlined an 8-Limb Path that could be practiced, lived and taught for all people of any culture, religion or spiritual tradition.
Within this 8-Limb Path are the poses (asanas), but we'll get to those later, for now we're going to start with the hardest and most profound practice of all, the very first on his list: Non-Harming (Ahimsa).
So perhaps as you begin this new year with your new intentions to create a new you this would be a great place to begin. And perhaps the best person to start practicing with is . . . Yourself.
I invite you to practice non-harming with all forms of exercise (including yoga poses) - not too much and not too little. I would then challenge you further to practice non-harming yourself mentally -
drop the criticism and judgment.
The way we treat ourselves is the way we treat others.
I believe we are worthy and deserving of love and compassion.
Each and everyone of us.
It is our responsibility to love and honor ourselves . . . and in this way our entire world will transform.
Thank you for Being. I appreciate You.