Why do you practise yoga?
Well, a personal journey that started 20 years ago reading about sustainability was significantly accelerated into learning about the connection of body and mind through my recovery from a serious spinal injury. Nine years ago I nearly severed my spinal chord pushing a car (not a very smart thing to be the weakest link between a brick wall and a ton of metal). Yoga has been a significant part of that recovery and I’ve learned that it is possible both to restore your body, and to continually improve it. It has also led me to a much deeper inquiry into the mind-body connection, the benefits of meditation and more.
Yoga is a complete philosophy if you want it to be and it’s great for your body and mind on many levels if you just want to leave it there. But then you could always ask yourself “why not stretch your ideals and your inner being as well as your hamstrings?” – “Why not find greater calm and balance in your life as well as your yoga practice?”
I’ve learned that there is much valuable wisdom in the ancient traditions that we are not listening to in our modern lives. Incorporating that knowledge into our daily routine has a very positive effect on our bodies and minds. Western science and society are now catching up to what the Yogis and Buddhists have known for thousands of years as the recent growth of interest in mindfulness practices and meditation attests. The yamas and niyamas of yoga (The first two of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga) set out principles that help guide our personal choices in a healthy and ethical direction. They include compassion, non-harming, contentment and self-regulation. Nearly all of us could use more of these for ourselves and for those around us – I know I remind myself daily anyway!
I also realised just how much physical and mental stress we are subject to in our busy lives and wanted to share what I’ve learned to benefit others and help them achieve greater health, wellbeing, calm and balance.
I draw on what I’ve learned as a holistic lifestyle coach, my own yoga journey, Ayurveda (roughly translated as “science of life”) that teaches the balancing of body and mind as well as a Buddhist model of the mind.
Ultimately, for me it is about helping to create optimal wellbeing of body, mind spirit, environment and community. Fortunately what is good for one of these aspects tends to benefit all of them. Unfortunately the nutrition and lifestyle choices that are followed by many and promoted broadly in our society don’t always help us in the right direction. Many of us are finding ourselves more stressed and less healthy than we should or could be.
The good news is our ability to bring ourselves back to greater health and balance is amazing given the right information, encouragement, inspiration, support and practice. A healthier, more flexible body, a calmer and more centred state of mind, are all possible from wherever we are now. Yoga helps us to both nurture the best in us and accept ourselves as we are, physically, mentally and emotionally. It also helps us to do this for others.
So, in a nutshell, why I do what I do is that it allows me to follow my passion and do it to support others.