Updated: Mar 24, 2022
Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day-to-day life - BKS Iyengar.
The above is one of my favorite quotes from yoga master Iyenger, considered by many to be the father of modern yoga. In just a few words, he expresses a couple of very deep and essential ideas about yoga and yogic practice. Let me take you through them!
YOGA IS CULTIVATION
That means we tend to our yoga practice and in doing so, we tend to our minds and our bodies. Yoga is not about "quick results" but rather about taking our time to better know and understand ourselves physically and spiritually. The mind and body are much like a garden - when we take time, even just a few minutes, to focus our attention on the way our body feels, the content of our mind, and the quality of our breath, we cultivate awareness that helps us to flourish.
YOGA IS FOR DAY TO DAY LIFE
It's no secret that practicing yoga regularly helps develop a body that is strong and flexible. This is because safe, regular yoga practice stretches and tones the muscles and helps improve posture, breathing, and flexibility. But our practice in the studio also brings mental awareness about our minds and bodies outside the studio. When we practice yoga regularly, we activate and communicate with all the parts of our body, increasing our ability to listen to our bodies and minds.
We live in a busy world - it's hard for us to even find quality time for ourselves, let alone maintain our balance. We spend the majority of the day with our attention focussed on the events happening outside of ourselves. When we take the time, even just a few minutes, to focus our attention on the way our body feels, the content of our mind, and the quality of our breath, we enter into the present moment.
Learning to be present can become a constant source of peace, a way to relieve the stress in the mind and body.
It is important, however, to remember that these benefits come with regular practice. So keep practicing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Meena Park is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She used to teach classes at the west side and Downtown YMCAs in Lansing. She also holds a MA in educational technology and a minor in kinesiology from Michigan State University.