Your First Yoga Practice

The word yoga means to join, or to yoke. This represents a primary requirement for all of life – to feel safe, unified and connected. Throughout history, the pursuit of happiness has been humanity’s abiding quest. But the happiness we seek is more than just the ephemeral happiness of a desire fulfilled or an adversity overcome. What we seek is far deeper and more lasting, perhaps a more apt description is ‘peace without suffering.’ Yoga is a practical and ancient approach to this state of happiness or nirvana.

Let us start this month with a simple and realistic approach to adding yoga to your life. I often say to my students, if you are only able to do legs-up-the-wall for 5 minutes everyday, you are on your way to cultivating your yoga. We will expand our practice as we progress, but for now this simple excercise is a good place to begin. If you feel ready for something more, try working your way up to all of the first three modifications for downward dog, everyday for a month.

Yoga is about making a choice each day that celebrates your well being. You now have 3 choices before you:

1. The time and place that you’ll begin your practice. Are you going to create a space in your life to practice?

2. The choosing of your destination. Are you going to health and happiness?

3. The effort you’ll put in to get there. Are you going to excercise the discipline required to get there?

In this progression you’ll start on your path toward true and abiding happiness.

If you are like most of us, it is your bad habits that distract you from your happiness and fluidity. You believe you are your habits. You may also believe that true freedom is to be able to do “whatever you please”. As Paramahansa Yogananda stated “You should understand to what degree you are free, and how much you are influenced by your bad habits. To be good just because it has become a habit to be good is not freedom either. To be tempted is not sinfulness, but to be able to resist and overcome temptation is greatness; this is freedom, for you are acting by free will and free choice only.”

Finally, yoga is about unity and unity means feeling connected to oneself. This connection is the foundation of self respect. When we respect ourselves we do what we need to do to feel good, and we don’t compromise. This is the yoking, and this is what the practice of yoga can give you. So, let’s begin!!