The magical stories you have heard about yoga are true. Yoga can be a magnet for the things you dream of.
Unfortunately, it is not a fairy dust you can sprinkle on your mat. The shifts do not come overnight. And, you cannot simply mutter a Sanskrit mantra for your hopes to manifest. It is a journey of work, of love, and of intense self-reflection. It takes "tapas" - the yogic ethical concept of discipline and austerity.
For many people yoga is nothing more than a fancy workout, or maybe a few calm moments of de-stressing or elaborate stretching. However, yoga is much more. It is a science, a wellness system, a lifestyle, a philosophy, and more than anything a path to clarity and joy. The beauty of yoga is that it is flexible to your life and needs. There is as infinite number of ways to practice as there are ways to interpret the meaning of the word.
The word yoga is derived from a word meaning 'to yoke' or 'to unite'. One encompassing way to conceptualize this is to think of uniting the self with All - to connect with the source of all possibilities. The true magic of yoga can happen with the sincere realization of the concept,"Namaste" - "the light in me recognizes and honors the light within you." When this is realized, there is a great surrender, defences are dropped, and prejudices fall. All things become you, and you become all things. Of course, this too is no sudden switch, but is learned slowly over time - the concept, like yoga, is endless and ever deepening.
In the beginning, yoga with all the Sanskrit words and postures alluded me. The intricate curves of the ancient writing looked more elusive than Korean. Sitting upright in a cross-legged position was physical torture, and holding tree pose for more than five seconds seemed like an impossible feat. Still, there was still a deep resonance within me. As I continued to practice and study yoga, I sensed a truth which is now growing and intertwining with everything in my life, both on and off the mat.
Similar to things you may have read in books like, The Secret, or or in articles about the law of attraction, once you begin this path of yoga –or your own effort to seek wellness and clarity- things in life effortlessly fall into place. There is work, and of course some difficulties as you are faced with the task of clearing out the muck. Once the path clears, it is still your choice to follow, to listen, and to take the openings or not. If you do choose to step forward it is rewarding.
In a magical way yoga has brought many opportunities into my life. Just a month before graduating yoga teacher training, a job fell into my lap. A fellow yoga school graduate sent out an email asking for people to take over her classes. Responding to the email, I figured it was a long-shot. But, I got the job, and beyond that it came with a teaching mentor, and the opportunity to lead a teens’ class. Both perks were things I had been silently dreaming of.
Beyond the yoga front - other jobs have seemingly fallen into my lap. I wanted a way out of my dead-end job so that I could nanny and teach yoga. Out of the blue, the sister of a family I had babysat for once a year before, called me and asked me take care of her daughter a couple times a week. I found out that she had been training to teach Bikram yoga before becoming pregnant. Our friendship grew and we continued to find similarities in each other. Through her, I have been put in touch with four other families that I now work with. The families I work for on a regular basis all needed me on opposing days that work together in perfect synchronicity.
Here, a deeper meaning of the word yoga comes to fruition. Everything becomes untangled, and one can see how each strand connects seamlessly. It doesn’t matter if you understand the words and concepts of yoga consciously, can perfectly do an headstand, or can practice patience in every situation – this is a journey, and what matters only is that you begin.
By Chelsea Cunningham
Chelsea truly came home to yoga after college, finding that her practice accentuated her interest in the ways people derive and make meaning. Whether sweating on her mat or breathing in everyday situations, Chelsea found that yoga could always be her safe place for reflection, action and balance. As a kids and adult yoga teacher, she encourages her students to let the yoga meet them where they are and enjoy the journey. Read more about Chelsea at her blog.
Try the following classes to help you discover the magic of your yoga practice:
The Fearless Heart - Michelle Marchildon
Align and Flow - Jeanie Manchester
Twisting out Negativity and Doubt- Nancy Nielsen