Doing Yoga vs Living Yoga

My first exposure to “Yoga” was joining in on a Wednesday night class at my gym. My intention for this was simply to gain more flexibility and a little bit of stillness in my life.
At the time I thought ‘doing’ yoga would naturally bring me closer to what I thought yoga was all about.
My first class it was not a pretty sight trying to get into the majority of postures. There was so much tension and holding in my whole body.
I finished my first class frustrated by my lack of mobility and I decided to practice the postures more regularly.
Slowly but surely my body started to open and I started to enjoy my yoga practice more and more but still I felt as though something was missing.
At the time I had come to believe that “yoga” was something I needed to “do” to become more at peace.
However the more I practiced the more it seemed like this idealistic sense of peace was eluding me.
Coming from an elite personal training background my new found yoga approach was very active, often be forcing the body to get into certain postures to look like it did in the book. Pushing to gain that little bit extra was how things were done in the fitness modality. But the whole time all this did was create a mind that was busy and frustrated.
This went on for quite a while until I decided to undertake a yoga teachers training at Shantarasa’s school of Yoga and Meditation.
From day one everything changed.
This course was so much more than learning poses.
Truly it was a lesson in how to live ones life. A journey to rediscover the real Self.
With decades of experience and wisdom, Shantarasa’s two principal teachers (Sadhana and Keval) teach an authentic and traditional style which you often can’t find in the western world.
Both these individuals have beenon the path of Yoga for most of their adult livesand have a deep wisdom that only comes from learned firsthand experience.
To be honest, it’s much more thana Yoga Teachers Training Course.
It’s more of a total transformational course.
We started by learning Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga.
It didn’t take long for me to realise the yoga poses I had been “doing” was only but one the classical eight limbs.
Wow!
This system was a detailed map to this deep inner peace I had been desiring.
The moment that shifted my awareness to truly practicing yoga however was discovering the last two limbs of Patanjali’s 8 Limbs of Yoga
Dhyana (state of meditation) and
Samadhi (state of oneness);
Both of these last two limbs are said not to be something you do but rather something that happens to you when you allow yourself to cultivate a deeper state of awareness and practice yoga in each moment.
I saw the way I had been going about my practice was not yoga at all. It was simply exercise!
I began to cultivate a deeper state of awareness in relation to the mind, body and even environment.
Until studying Yoga Teachers Training with Shantarasa, a lot of emphasis had been on the “doing”to achieve a certain postures, rather than simply releasing tension and opening into the flow of movement and stillness with ease and trust.
I found that same attitude could be translated into living from that balance in my everyday life.
I discovered that yoga is not something you “do” on a mat but rather is lived out in each moment.
“Being yoga” is an ongoing expanding of ones awareness that unravels layers of unnecessary complexity.
No longer do I feel like life is happening to me, but rather life is happening for and through me.
Now I have the ability to be more present in any given moment, and the power to wisely choose appropriate responses rather than just reacting.
My life today is naturally more simple yet immeasurably richer in every aspect.
I finally discovered the sense of peace I had been searching for.
I now know that to live from this connection every day is to truly to be “living” Yoga.
– Written by Ben Clarke

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