Tuesday, January 8, 2008
True yoga - Emily Carlson
I loved this article. It's true. Yoga forces you to look at your world differently, challange yourself in a way you never thought possible. Yoga is relaxing, relieves stress, and buils muscle. I cannot think of a better way to spend an hour every day. Namaste.
Written by Morgan Kriz - View Profile
The muscles in my arms are quivering. My legs are burning up, sweat dripping down my face. Every muscle in my body is contracted, turned inward or outward in opposition—every intricate detail of the pose supporting the next.
And all I can do is breathe. Concentrate and stare at a fixed point, and just breathe through the pain, deeper into the pose.
The Indian sun is rising further up into the sky—the morning rays beating on the rooftop where I’m holding a tree pose for what seems like eternity.
I will never forget this particular yoga class. On a flat, cement rooftop in Rishikesh, a small town nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, on the banks of the sacred Ganges river, in northern India.
Take any eccentric, diverse, extraordinary Western person who doesn’t fit the typical mold—especially those who never left the ‘60s—and put them in a quaint Indian town, held sacred by Hindus, and that’s pretty much Rishikesh.
The colorful sounds of the street echoed up to our yoga practice, taught by a local yogi with long, wavy black hair and a mustache.
To him, yoga is the way of life. A daily practice that is constantly challenging and revealing insight about the body, mind and spirit. He had probably been taking yoga for years and years and years on end. I had only practiced yoga for just over a year. Still others were just then developing their passion.
And for each of us at every level, yoga always presents a challenge. There is always progress.
This particular yogi practiced Iyengar yoga, the type of yoga that holds a pose until it is absolutely perfected, and then some.
There was no music to occupy the empty space. Only the drifting sounds of life. The wind rustled a leafy tree in the far corner of the flat, cement rooftop. Dogs barked, children laughed, barters were being made, a distant car horn blasted. India is a noisy place.
But above the chaos — on that hot rooftop, intently staring at a crack in the cement with my foot braced against my thigh, and my hands in prayer above my head — I was at peace.
Isn’t that what yoga is all about? That’s why I practice it.
It’s an opportunity to rejuvenate your body, clear your mind, expand your lungs and let it all go. And strengthen your core.
Taking everything in — the sounds, the smells, the air, all your worries and stress — and breathing it out with a heavy sigh. How often, in your normal routine, do you actually focus on letting things go?
After every practice, I’m at such peace with myself. Not to mention the energy that is intensely flowing throughout my body and mind.
Yoga is personal. Everyone has their own reason to come to class. Mine is simply surviving life.