My home practice…not very bendy

So…I had some photos taken yesterday at Lululemon Athletica Manhasset sporting their new line of yoga gear.  The photos will be used for product notifications throughout the month.  I’ll also be teaching a few of their free Sunday classes in December along with other teachers from Vitality.  Fun stuff!

What occurred to me as I was on my way to the store, planning what poses I might strike, was that I don’t have any of those impressive, typically photographed, “advanced” postures in my practice.

You know the ones…deep backbends, splits, crazy inversions and arm balances:

What would those Lululemon shoppers think of my not so “advanced” yoga photos?

Who cares?!

What does it mean to be “advanced”?  I am not a particularly bendy yogini.  I come to the mat consistently and love my practice.  I feel honored to be teaching.  But, I don’t handstand in the middle of the room or hold flying pigeon (yet, anyway!!!).  Do the poses we can contort ourselves into make us “advanced”?   Obviously the answer is no.  The biggest impact my teacher training experience had on me was the realization that the practice is not merely physical.  Asana is 1 of 8 limbs.

Yoga is the process of discovering who you are, from single moment to single moment.  Bendy or otherwise.  It really doesn’t matter what you can or can’t do physically.  Labels are worthless. The phsyical practice (asana), while amazing and empowering, is simply a vehicle to a larger self-realization and ability to inhabit a quiet, peaceful, non-reactive mind.

So, if you are like me, and not particularly bendy, throw away any meaning you have attached to your physical ability.  Embrace what you do have and ignore the labels.

Embrace what you do have

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What I’m teaching…Enlightenment is everywhere

Love this clip!  A beautiful illustration of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1.2:

Yogas citta vrtti nirodhah

The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is Yoga

The entire outside world is based on your thoughts and mental attitude.  The entire world is your own projection.  Your values may change within a fraction of a second…If you feel bound, you are bound.  If you feel liberated, you are liberated.  Things outside neither bind nor liberate you; only your attitude toward them does that.

Sutra commentary by Sri Swami Satchidananda