I think everyone is a yogi, or in your case, a yogini, in a way. You just don’t know it!!! It is so common to associate the word yoga with the stretches and exercises you see in magazines and videos. It is so much cooler than that. Yoga is not a thing you do… it a state of being. You can achieve yoga just like you would health, balance and happiness. Yoga in Sanskrit means “union” (you’re going to see me say this time and time again). Yoga is the state of being unified, bonded, together or whole. So, before we go stretching and breathing all over the place it’s important that we know what it is that we are trying to accomplish. Let’s step out of the studio and into the kitchen.
Imagine, you are a world-renowned pastry chef and you absolutely love what you do. A woman with a big smile and eco-friendly shopping bag walks into your shop and places an order for 108 puff pastries decorated with little lotus blossoms. All is baked and you’ve got a vibrant palate of delectable icings and a plethora of ideas! That’s when the magic happen. At first you take a couple stabs at concepts until you find the perfect one. In your effort to achieve the closest you can to perfection (nobody’s perfect) you mess up a few and are forced to eat a couple flaky morsels…poor you. Waste not want not, right? You’ve cranked out about 30 and the vision of what you want is clear, you’re on a roll. At about 40 you are producing Martha Stewart Living worthy specimens… you’re in the zone. ***Please do not mistake this for zoning out*** It’s not like when you’re watching TV, a commercial comes on and you step back and realize that you can’t remember whether you were watching The Colbert Report or Say Yes to the Dress (I know that’s not just me). This is not autopilot, this much more refined. You are in your element: Occupying your attention with a task that makes you feel good physically and emotionally while allowing the mind to simply focus on your vision and dictating the body movements to achieve it. The mind is usually so busy picking life apart, it really does appreciate the break. You are completely aware and present with every squeeze of your icing bag. Next thing you know, you reach to grab a blank puff from the tray to find that there are none. You’re done. Ahhhh, that felt good didn’t it? You’re awesome… and you probably feel darn good about how happy Ms. Eco-Smiles will be when she sees them! And where did the time go? Thats yoga! Or at least you’re on your way. For that moment, you were freed from the incessant chatter of the mind, from the expectations you have of yourself and others, freed from the constant search for happiness outside of Self. For that time, there was no time.
Yoga (minus the spiritual) in a nutshell: We are body and mind. Suffering is caused by the false belief that these two are separate and that you are separate from the world around you. The first writings on yoga, which date back thousands of years, suggest that it is the way to tie up all the loose ends; get you seeing how wonderfully complete you are and not suffering anymore. The body is connected to the mind, the mind is connected to perception. When perception is aligned with the present moment, revealed beneath it all is a peaceful and powerful Self. The yogi or yogini that you are likely referring to achieves yoga through a set of eight practices including asana and pranayama (postures and breathing). Westerners love the benefits of these two so much that others are often sadly overlooked. Now, you say aren’t a fan but want to be… that’s tough girl. Some asanas are hard and very demanding, but some of the best things in life are hard to get to. If you can transcend the limitations of the mind just through decorating pastries, imagine how it would feel if you got there through a rigorous set of exercises that challenge your flexibility, balance and ego. Some say its bliss… so blissful they lit up and flew away! To be a fan of yoga it takes diligence and commitment. Many hit a point where they give up. In the words of Aaliyah, “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again, try again”. One day you may find yourself liking it, loving even. Doing it all the time! That’s when the magic happens.