by SandyThe Joy of Life by Henri MatisseRecently I had a lovely long Zoom catch up with a friend and fellow yoga schoolteacher. We had a wide-ranging conversation, which included some discussion of the challenges of teaching yoga remotely and various other current events in the yoga macrocosm. In connection with this, my friend mentioned that she had deep admired hearing another professor in a podcast interview say, “I’m pretty sure that what I learn is asana.”What this educator necessitated is that she sees herself as a dedicated asana professor, rather than someone who navigates students through all the legs of yoga–something to which there are many comings but which, as YFHA books know, ever goes far beyond the physical traditions of Hatha Yoga. Your best friend and I both perceive this to be a very refreshing perspective. With yoga world-class now a gym and fitness centre staple, I think it’s a great idea, and probably well overdue, for us to make this distinction clear.Our dialogue about this question also got me to thinking about my own pilgrimage as a yoga practitioner and teacher. I very have been mainly an asana coach, but I’ve been shy to commonwealth it that way. It’s important to acknowledge that “asana” is not synonymous with “yoga, ” yet, at the same time, the line between “just asana” and something more can be blurry.With my depth, ongoing interest in how physical health and the mind-body connection intersect with feelings well-being, asana never feels like “just exercise” to me. For that matter, the same can be true of other physical practices and forms of exercise. A non-yogi friend who is a dedicated runner describes her daily rolls as her time to be fully with herself and reports that the mental assistances are at least as important as the cardio workout.This view aligns with my mind that there is no real estrangement between judgment and form, but that we are completely integrated beings whose physical and emotional health are deeply interconnected. And there are plenty of other ways to take asana practice beyond the physical grade. For example, the friend who mentioned the podcast to me is an artist and skill therapist in addition to teaching yoga, a lovely compounding of sciences that passionately inform her tradition and her teaching.While I appreciate spirituality as seriously personal and individual and have never felt qualified to be anyone else’s spiritual guide on the yoga itinerary, I’m likewise recognizing also that in belief asana, I’m encouraging students to question their smell of what’s possible and explore their ability to create change and flourish. Learning and practising asana is, among other things, deepening our physical restrictions, and that can have a profound impact on our ability of prospect. In positive psychology this is known as self-efficacy, our impression that we can realize our aim, and as raise mindset( which I discussed in Positive Psychology and Yoga, Part 3: Emergence and Change ), the understanding that our abilities are not fixed but can be developed with practice and persistence.I’ve also felt for quite a while that one of my persuasiveness as a teacher has been communicating the pleasure I take in my rule and, even before I studied positive psychology, that I was in some sense a educator of prosperity. While it’s an open question as to whether happiness can actually be taught, there are learnable procedures and tools that can help us shift our awarenes and promote our climate, and my experience is that yoga practices can add quite a lot to our well-being toolbox. And all of us are capable of applying the discovers we discover on our mats to other areas of our lives.So for me, the “just” in “just asana” is a little naive. There are many ways to find deeper implication in asana practice, even though they are the traditional eightfold path isn’t the pilgrimage for us. Whether or not we’re striving enlightenment, I’ve attained there can profound “mini-enlightenments” reaped from asana practice. To know ourselves better, learning to be gentler and kinder with ourselves and others, discovering the value of exploration and perseverance, and focusing on being in the moment or with the process rather than on achieving a particular result are just a few examples.Like most of us, I’ve found this past year of quarantining challenging in many ways. Although under normal environments I enjoy living alone and am not prone to either loneliness or dimple, I’ve suffered my share of both during the pandemic. So I’ve been extra grateful for having my yoga practice to draw on as a resource and a sanctuary during this time. While it may be a physical practice–focused on sigh and moving and stretching–it’s not “just asana.” Even a short, simple practice session is a reliable acces for me to re-energize and reconnect with my inner pleasure, joy that is not dependent on external circumstances.For information about Sandy’s castes, writing, and positive psychology expedition recognize www.sandy.blaine.com.Subscribe to Yoga for Healthy Aging by Email deg Follow Yoga for Healthy Aging on Facebook deg To seek Yoga for Healthy Aging: A Guide to Lifelong Well-Being, go to Amazon, Shambhala, Indie Bound or your local bookstore.
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