My Yoga Journey
For the past couple of years I have been interested in learning more about yoga and practicing yoga. About a year ago I took my first yoga class in Jacksonville at the YMCA, I attended class for a few months but did not feel like I was really getting anything out of the class. The class sizes were rather large, and being a beginner and never having experienced yoga before, I did not feel like the instructor was very helpful in the teaching of the positions. He would just instruct us as to what position to move into next, and I had no idea what he was talking about, there really was not allot of 'teaching' involved. I did get a few of the positions down, and felt renewed after each class but again I did not feel like I was getting the full teachings of the yoga practice so I eventually stopped attending.
In reading about yoga and the philosophy behind it, I feel the biggest thing that has drawn me to this practice, is the fact that it is NOT just a workout and that when learned correctly it can help you become aware of your deepest nature and teach your powerful techniques for creating a sense of inner peace, harmony, and clarity of mind, which I believe are absolutely relevant to leading a balanced life in today's world!
About 2 months ago I decided I wanted to give yoga another shot. I started looking for local yoga teachers in the Spokane area, and ran across Sunflower Yoga. After reading the reviews and calling and speaking with Jackie I thought I would give this studio a shot. The biggest thing that drew me to Jackie and her yoga studio, was the fact that she held 8 week classes and that she only allowed so many people per class. Because of this I knew that I would get the personalized instruction I was looking for.
I attended my first session January 10th and it was wonderful! I on the other hand was clearly a beginner and WAY out of practice, but Jackie and the other class members are terrific and very patient with me.
Along with learning the physical poses for yoga, we are also learning the 8 limbs of yoga which teach that no one element is elevated over another in a hierarchical order.
In brief the eight limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows:
- Yama : Universal morality
- Niyama : Personal observances
- Asanas : Body postures
- Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of prana
- Pratyahara : Control of the senses
- Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
- Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
- Samadhi : Union with the Divine
Over the past 4 weeks we have learned the first limb of yoga, the Yama's which have 5 teachings to them:
- Ahimsa – Compassion for all living things
- Satya – Commitment to Truthfulness
- Asteya - Non-stealing
- Brahmacharya - Sense control
- parigraha - Neutralizing the desire to acquire and hoard wealth
Before each class we will talk briefly about the teachings for the day and are asked to keep them in the forefront of our minds during practicing.
Just like learning anything new, weather it be a sport, game, job or school, it will appear difficult in the beginning.
Right now I am struggling with how to stand properly during each of the poses and the stance is the most important part of learning any yoga pose but I seem to not be able to get it, and yes it is very frustrating and it is difficult for me to keep the teaching of the day in the forefront of my mind when I feel like I am failing miserably at the practice, but I will not give up, this is something I have committed to myself that I will do, and that I will learn to do well!
I hope to be able to share this journey with you and wonderful experiences that I will have in joining the union of mind, body and spirit!