“Yoga Beyond Asana” | The Story Behind MA
Yoga has been a part of my life since I was 20 – a young college woman traveling the world looking for balance and health. That’s when I picked up my first yoga book and started to practice the breathing and physical practices. A few years later I discovered the philosophy behind it all and realized I had been practicing yoga my whole life without knowing it.
I rapidly fell in love with the lifestyle of yoga, even more than the physical aspect of yoga which I also loved. The whole thing made me feel more like me – the real me, not some pretend version I portrayed to the world in hopes of people liking me.
The philosophy of yoga gave me a guide book to how I was unconsciously living my life. Now I could put conscious energy around it and enjoy so much more of the world around me. I still had problems like everyone else. But, they didn’t bog me down like they used to.
Like most people, the physical practices of the asana drew me in and kept me going. They were more than just exercise. I felt so different after an hour of asana than how I felt after an hour of any other exercise I’d done up until then. There was some sort of magic within the asana and I didn’t know what it was but I was certain it was there.
When I began studying the lifestyle of yoga through the philosophy and the energetic system of the chakras, I started to understand what that magic was. It was prana! The life force that connects and energizes all things in this universe. And I could tap into it at any time.
I started to view the entirety of yoga as a beautiful multi-faceted crystal. The thing was that the asana, which most people see at the whole practice of yoga, was just one of those facets. It was only one window into the heart and soul of what yoga really is. The philosophy of yoga is another facet, the cakras, pranayama, ethics, pratyahara or discipline of the senses, dharana - concentration, dhyana - meditation, mantra, deities, bhakti - devotion, karma - service ... the list is basically endless!
All of these other facets of yoga are far more inward than outward. They are difficult to photograph and put on your Instagram feed. Nevertheless, they are real – and really effective! They help me to see the connections of all things. My perspective of life has changed dramatically through these practices. Life is better – all of life is better, not just my physical health.
Now It’s Your Turn
These other practices of yoga are where I spend most of my practice time these days. I hate to admit it but I moved 2 ½ weeks ago and haven’t practiced more than 20 minutes of asana since then! Yet, my meditation practices are strong. I chant a round of my mantra each morning, practice pranayama and mudras as well as utilize the energy of my crystals to enhance my inner practices. I will get back to my asana practices soon as the house project list starts to get smaller. For now, I am content knowing I am a yogini with or without it.
These other facets of yoga contain a lifetime of learning. It is where I choose to spend my study time. I love learning it all! What areas of yoga do you enjoy studying? Is it the physical body through asana or do your passions move you elsewhere? I’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.
See you on the inside,