Being in the present moment frees us from all the habitual behaviors that cloud our perceptions of reality in any given situation. We typically get caught up in all the stories we create to justify or explain ourselves and our life experiences to ourselves. But it becomes an internal monologue with no exit. So if we can pause and bring ourselves fully into this moment (instead of being stuck in the past or in the unknowable future) and really look, really listen to our self and whoever is in front of us at this moment we have the opportunity to break out of that habitual, sealed off place and truly engage in the truth.
Yoga offers us practical techniques to access the now and identify and release our habitual reactivity. With thousands of years of lineage behind us we have access to profound experience and guidance in the practices of yoga. And our dedication to seeking the unveiled essence of our true nature enables us to be in the present ever more consistently.
Pranayama, asana and meditation all practiced mindfully within the guidelines of ethical behavior are designed to help us focus on calming the mind long enough to quiet the noise and begin to really hear the heart and soul. Only then do we become truly present and available to those around us. Only then can we open ourselves up fully to relationships with others.
Needless to say it’s a lifelong practice and I constantly need to check in with my inner self to stay authentic and honest. And it can be hard work. But it’s joyful work, which is why I treasure yoga as a guiding practice in my life. – Jen Marcello (2011 YTT graduate)
Restorative Yoga is a modernized form of this practice taught from a restful perspective. Our overly-stimulating lifestyles that keep the sympathetic nervous system (the fight/flight response) on all the time is known to cause as well as exasperate many, if not all, the health issues we encounter in our life. This practice carefully combines easy-to-access asanas (static yoga postures) and gentle vinyasas (yoga movements) to restore and balance the function of the parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation response) to release, re-align and refill physical & mental energy. – Mary
Everyone has areas on their body that are more or less flexible then other areas, and yoga is an excellent way to encourage not only flexibility, but also endurance, strength, body awareness, relaxation and compassion. By practicing yoga, my inflexible areas have become more flexible, and with time, I see so many benefits from a consistent yoga practice that move beyond the physical. By using props, practicing pose modifications, and communicating needs and limitations to your teacher, you will begin to witness your overall transformation from being stiff, to being aware, joyful, strong AND flexible! – Amy