Reminder – Yoga is a Union of Mind, Body & Spirit

I just read this on yogamodern.com and found it pretty interesting.

“Sometimes, as yogis, we pay too much attention to the mind and the spirit. Yoga ultimately is a union between the mind, body and the spirit.  But there can be no union of the three if there is no love for one–in this case, the body. Many of us meditate for hours on end, chant, light incense etc., all in an attempt to escape what we see to be the least important of the trinity. We practice a modern and, at times, damaging form of self-flagellation in order to prove that we have mastery over our bodies.

But this perspective is flawed.  The body does not imprison the spirit, it houses it; the body doesn’t keep the spirit from expressing itself, it magnifies its creativity and gives it a medium with which to shine.  But this is only possible if there is as much love for the body as there is for the mind and the spirit.  If there is no love for the body, if there is only begrudging acceptance, then there can be no union, there can be no yoga.”

What great perspective. I know that there have been times on my own mat where I got frustrated with my performance because of an injury or low energy/flexibility and my inner critic stepped right up to point out the flaws or inadequacies in my practice.  Rather than disconnect from the physical, I would point the proverbial finger at it.  Blaming my body for not pulling its weight in the mind/body/spirit trifecta. I’m certainly not perfect, but as I continue to grow with my practice, I recognize how very humbling yoga truly is on a regular basis.  Some practices are awesome, others… not so much.  But I’ve grown to love that about it and dig in to the “research” that comes with my practice.  What can I learn today?  And with every savasana, I accept that it’s an opportunity to let go of that practice and leave myself open for the next.

I’ve also discovered that it truly doesn’t matter what style of yoga you practice–if you are a classic “over-achiever” or Type A person, very often, you’ll pull that part of you into your practice.  You’ll expect a lot of yourself and potentially beat yourself up for any short-comings.  Your practice may be a little punishing.  You may identify yourself by your practice, usually by the most visible means–your body and its capabilities.

Like those yogis who elevate their spiritual and mental practice over that of their bodies, those who may focus their attention on the physical aspect of the practice also need a gentle reminder of what yoga is: mind, body and spirit coming together as one beautiful union. So, when you roll out your mat next time, make sure all three show up with you!

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About yogajolie

I'm a work in progress. Give me a sunny day at the beach followed by a late afternoon thunderstorm. My flip flops and running shoes somehow find rank and file among the melee of Manolos and high boots in my closet. I think finding bliss on a yoga mat is sheer happiness, but also enjoy lacing up and suffering...just a little bit...on a long run. Maybe this comes from my start in life. It began in Chicago, but we spent weekends and summers in a small beach town in Southwest Michigan. City mouse meets country mouse. Yin and yang. Juxtaposition. Balance. I'm fiercely independent, but after thirty-some-odd years on this planet realized that I'm also a little old-fashioned. *go figure* I'm mildly addicted to Kombucha. And eye cream. (I'm all about the moisturizer.) I appreciate good manners. Chivalry. Please and thank you. That's not to say that there isn't a little urban girl, punk rock heart still beating in my chest. There is. I've lived a lot of life so far...and miles to go before I sleep. So, that's me. I'm an East Coast girl with punk rock heart and a yoga soul. Practicing, playing, teaching and sharing as much as I can. I currently teach at two studios--it will be three as of September 1st, as I was recently named the Advanced Yoga class/workshop instructor for the newest location. Outside of my home studios, I offer workshops and private yoga lessons as well. Contact me if you want more information!
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