Question: Why do you practice yoga?

Answers: (an interesting and diverse array of real student responses)

A: For sanity and peace
A: To balance and heal my body from
many injuries
A: To improve my athletic performance
A: Overall health
A: To meet girls
A: Stress reduction
A: For community
A: To detox
A: To connect to my Self
A: To stretch my hamstrings and hips
A: To calm and concentrate my mind
A: To lower my blood pressure
A: To get over my ex-boyfriend
A: To reduce my pain in my back and neck
A: To remember to breathe
A: To learn to be kind to myself
A: To get off my meds
A: To have better posture
A: For a workout and a yoga butt

Yoga Sutra Wisdom

(What’s the “Yoga Sutra?” … Written in Sanskrit, Compiled Yoga Wisdom 200 BC, referred to as the “Psychological Roadmap for the Yogin” A sutra typically is a few words which impart a lot of meaning. The yogin chews on the sutra, for a while, to fully extract the deeper and personal meaning.)

1.1 Atta Yoga Nushasanam … the very first sutra, a great one to begin any practice with.

Atta – Say it and you’ll feel the meaning,“Attahhhhhh”! At Last! Finally! Now! That sense of relief and coming home when you experience the sanctuary of the present moment, even if it’s fleeting. Have you ever felt this way once you finally made it to your mat to close your eyes, tune in and take a deep breath?

Yoga – The simple, yet profound experience of Connection and Peace within your own being and between you and all else. Often misinterpreted as one of it’s tools or subtypes- the practice of physical postures.

Nushasanam-The pearls of wisdom, teachings and practices which are meant to cut through the layers of our conditioning and help us experience and remember Yoga.

So let’s put it all together … At last! We are here, Now! We have arrived! We are ready to receive the teachings and practices of Yoga which are meant to guide us out of unnecessary (and often self-imposed) suffering into a state of peace.

It is only when we can fully be in the present moment and empty our cup that we are able to receive the teachings and truly experience Yoga.

How often do we arrive already overflowing with what we think we know, what we expect? In which case, how can we receive anything new or be genuinely present?

About the Author

Angela Tong

Angela, E-RYT, MaOM, Dipl.Ac, BaBIO, is a mother, a yoga teacher, an acupuncturist and the co-founder of the Teton Yoga Shala, a sanctuary of Yoga and Wellness, located in the Aspens in Wilson. angela@tetonyoga.com, www.tetonyoga.com

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