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The practice of yoga changes us. When we focus on our breath, we become aware of our breathing patterns and tensions held in the body. As we move and stretch our bodies, tensions release and we feel better. We begin to notice things that we were unaware of before. Little by little that awareness seeps into other areas of our lives. We notice how we feel when we communicate with others. Perhaps we let go of old patterns of communication because we don’t need them anymore. Or perhaps we let go of old relationships because we finally recognize how damaging they are to our health and well-being. This is how the world changes, one person at a time.
When we change the way we think, we change the way we act. When we believe that the world is one family, we must act that way or be in conflict with our beliefs. When we believe that the world is one family, we take responsibility for our actions - thought, word and deed. And this is how the world changes, one person at a time.
Yoga is not about the pose. It’s not about the body, mind and spirit. It’s so much more than that. Yoga is about remembering our true nature. It’s about acknowledging what is true in this moment - letting go of how we think things should be, how we want things to be. When we acknowledge our human nature with all of our flaws and imperfections, we are open to witnessing the same in others - without judgment. When we change the way we think, we change the way we act. This can transform our lives - our health, our relationships, our workplaces, our world.
Swami Kripalu said, "Self-observation without judgment is the highest spiritual practice."
So, you may think that you came to Yoga to get into shape, lose weight, reduce stress, feel better - and you may just do that. You may get even more. Yoga can change your life!
Karen O'Donnell Clarke
Certified Kripalu Yoga and Integrative Yoga Therapy. I continue to study with a variety of therapeutically oriented yoga teachers.
The yoga therapy components of my teaching are based on my professional yoga therapy certification with Integrative Yoga Therapy, an IAYT member school, not derived from my status as an E-RYT with Yoga Alliance Registry.