"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
True happiness and beauty come from within and yoga is a powerful tool to help you shine your own light. When the external world feels heavy or hard, it can be easy to forget all the light and strength inside of us. Yoga reminds us our light is always there––we may have to work to shed the layers of darkness to uncover it, but we have the ability to choose positivity, no matter what. We create our own calm within any storm.
In yoga philosophy, specifically the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali reveals that to progress on the path of yoga, we don’t fight the darkness, we introduce light. In the second Pada on practice, Patanjali outlines the three primary benefits of the physical postures or asanas, as resolving dis-ease, creating lightness of body, and stability. Then, the Sutras on Pranayama, breath control, II-49 through II-53 detail how the regulation of life force is regulated by the inhale and the exhale. Breathing in a certain way will alleviate Tamas or darkness to reveal your inner light. If feeling Tamas (heaviness/depression), do Pranayama. If feeling Rajas (anger) do Asana.
The combination of pranayama and asana encourages lightness on every level. By practicing yoga with mindful breath, you improve posture, build strength and flexibility, and create space in tight areas. Endorphins––the feel good hormones––are released, which helps you feel more positive and optimistic and leaves less room for negative emotions to take root. Yoga helps manage physical pain, which directly impacts our emotions and thoughts.
Yoga at its root is about learning to direct the attention of your thoughts or control your mind. One of the most powerful Yoga Sutras is II-33. vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam, which translates to: when disturbed by negative thoughts, cultivate the opposite. In other words, when an angry or depressing thought arises, acknowledge it and then replace the negative with a positive. This technique when practiced regularly will help create a pattern of naturally beginning to see the positive first.
Yoga reminds us that we have a choice in our perspective––always. Through the rollercoaster of life, there will be challenging times and your ability to bolster yourself will see you through the difficulties. It isn’t about pretending reality doesn’t exist, it is about recognizing you have the power in how you allow it to impact you.
This week's classes will have you feeling lighter and more optimistic. Whether you're feeling positive, or feeling down, you will gain inspiration and let go of heaviness by giving yourself the time to enjoy these classes that encourage lightness.
1. Quick Energy Flow 5 - Claire Petretti Marti
2. Angela Kukhahn - Quest for the Press 2
3. Kristin Gibowicz- -Yoga for Weight Loss: Your Body is a Temple (FREE Class)
4. Pradeep Teotia - Good Morning Sunshine
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