This article is a response of sorts to the Yoga articles that have been published in the New YorkTimes over the last several weeks about the relative risks and rewards of Yoga practice. I believe the articles, and the often sensationalist headlines or narrow perspective from which they have been written, do little to help those who may be seeking to understand how or if Yoga may be their way to recover health or access the peace they may be seeking. Even this post can only be an invitation to begin and navigate a journey toward healing and an encouragement to persist through the gains and losses accrued in any journey that invites the fundamental transformation and growth needed to achieve a better life.
Foundations of Fitness
As another Spring comes to the New Haven Guilford Connecticut shoreline area for many of us the anticipation of moving our lives toward outside activities in our work and play builds. This is my annual invitation to bring your Yoga practice to the forefront of your movement life to reestablish the foundation for an enjoyable time in this season of change.Fitness professionals are now, more than ever, growing conscious of how important creating overall balance and proper movement patterns is as a foundation for the body tto best do what we ask of it. So many alarming articles in mass media would have us believe that we are weak, vulnerable in need of so much support and caution to get through our days. My expereince is the opposite. We can and do tolerate incredible stress in our bodies, often in unconscious or ill-advised ways before the tolls becomes apparent. The messages our bodies give can be read in the tensions, aches and nagging injuries that beset us. These messages are always there but often ignored, masked or misinterpreted. It is a common these lessons are often learned only in retrospect. Yogis invite us to humbly and compassionately accept our present experience and limitations as the basis of our growth back to wholeness. With fearless and compassionate awareness can we may create the best chance to responsibly transform our limits into strengths .and our distress into growing peace.
Foundations of Fun
We may be able to run marathons, trounce the opposition on the tennis courts or beat our own “best” numbers in any endeavor we choose, but if we can’t do these things without pain we are not truly fit. If we find we are wrestling to accomplish the basic tasks of our working or family life we are likely not fit and certainly not well. Something needs to happen to restore healing and balance to our lives. Although nothing can absolutely make us bullet proof with regard to the exigencies and accidents of life, I believe that paying clear attention to our experience is a powerful basis of recognizing our imbalances and vulnerabilities and taking positive action in response. Yoga is, at its core, is all about paying attention and Yogis believe ultimately the answer about how we need to respond is within us.
Foundations of Freedom
Though support of teacher, therapist, medical professional or wise friend can be crucial at times, ultimately on the path to wellness, accessing our inner wisdom can be the foundation to our re-creating and sustaining an active enjoyable lifestyle. With its amazing repertoire of healing practices, a conscious and skillful Yoga practice can support creating a body and mind that can responsibly enjoy this and every season. Growing in skill and wisdom, we learn to respect and respond more and more positively to the messages we are getting about what it means to be fit and well.
So a great operating principle to orient us away from fear and toward healing can be that through acceptance, understanding and creative action we have within us the instincts and wisdom needed grow toward more enjoyment and ease in our life’s journey. I am inspired to see this principle in action daily as my clients and student accept greater responsibility for the journey of their lives and wellbeing.