Yoga benefits the skin and beauty
Beware of yoga! How yoga can change life
It all started on a Saturday afternoon a few years ago. In retrospect, attending my first yoga class changed my life. I never would have thought that the simple desire to try something new in the short term would turn everything upside down in the long term.
The need for relaxation brought me to yoga. Many come for their first yoga class because they are in pain and some because they are curious about what yoga is. Probably very few think of connecting to "the higher" through the type of movement, of attaining a spiritual practice through body work.
At the beginning of my yoga practice, I was busy moving my body into the position that the teacher suggested. Berg, Cobra and Dog made little sense. Over time, I knew what the individual positions meant and I was able to devote myself to my breath. It was possible to establish a "flowing breath". The calm, deep rhythm caused deep relaxation and an unexpected body feeling. I later even considered that what Teacher was saying about size and unlimited potential might actually mean me too. My confidence grew and I began to apply the principles taught in the lessons outside of the yoga room. I began to watch my breath, to see how my mind reacted to certain situations and how it was at least a bit possible to distance themselves from seemingly overwhelming emotions and to observe instead of reacting immediately.
Yoga had found its way into my everyday life and began to change the way I deal with people and situations. But I am not the only one in whom yoga supported or even brought about tremendous changes and transformations.
But where is the secret, how can asanas, pranayama and meditation make a new person out of you, show a direction that you would not have dared to dream of before?
How can one find these aspects, asana by asana on the mat and breath by breath in everyday life? How can a seemingly purely physical practice enable such profound transformation? Any sun salutation can be practiced mechanically. You can do a “workout” or you can give every moment a deeper alignment, “breathe life” into every movement through focus. It is not necessary to do this. But when you begin, you will discover the depth of yoga and you may decide to try the principles for yourself.
Your own yoga practice is a mirror of yourself. How I treat myself during the asanas, the thoughts I have towards myself, show me how I live and how I deal with difficult or beautiful moments. The way I practice is how I live my everyday life. If I am loving to myself, I will also be so in everyday life, if I am never enough for myself, I will feel imperfection.
However, when you begin to deliberately focus on your practice, it can transform you.
Yoga, to put it in John Friend’s words, is intent with alignment in action.
Intention is the most important of all of the above. Behind this is the question, why do I practice, what brings me to my mat every day, what kind of goal do I have in every single moment and with which inner attitude, with which consciousness do I breathe every single breath? Yoga can transform anyone if one lives moment by moment with awareness and purpose.
But what is a yogi's intention?
All yoga texts agree that the goal of yoga is perfection. Perfection and unity with the Supreme, the Absolute. But what is it? We can only describe it, maybe like this: creating power, comprehensive goodness, absolute consciousness, greatest joy, freedom, abundance, vibration, pulsating power and absolute beauty. Yoga teaches that there is more than just the simple sensations of the body and mind. It teaches how to train the mind and body to be and stay focused, to develop strength and endurance in order to overcome attachments and fears. The tradition of Tantra even teaches that one is the absolute, that all beauty, grace, size and strength lie in oneself and one only has to remember it. Tantra says that everything that exists is an individual expression of the one power, everything is connected to one another, shares the same breath and pulse.
Practicing asanas with one intention are many times stronger. If I only consider being part of the Absolute, any movement can be a meditation, a prayer, a gift. Every breath can remind me that I can expand, that Prana, the all-encompassing life energy, pulsates through my body at every moment and that I am part of a greater one.
I can also focus on the fact that the fruits of my practice may benefit someone who needs strength, I can ask that Prana bring healing and strength to let go of old injuries and to find the courage to go new ways . Topics to find a higher purpose are unlimited.
But how do you then succeed in bringing the intention into alignment?
Again, the yoga practice teaches essentials on the mat. If you succeed in aligning the body in a healthy way, everything becomes easier.
At the beginning of my yoga practice, Virabadrasana I and II simply represented a workout for my thighs. It was just exhausting. It was possible to hold the position for longer, but only the integration of the "rest" of the body brought a really powerful experience. I had to learn how to move my body in unity with one another, how the integrity of the feet, back leg, spine, and arms gave rise to strength, gentleness, and grace.
Certainly asanas require strength and endurance, but when the body is in a healthy alignment this is what you get back.
My body taught me directly how everything is connected and connected with one another. In everyday life I also felt more clearly how events had a direct impact on my well-being. Stress caused shallow breathing and tension, joy relaxation and gentleness. Over time, the ability to differentiate between what is good for me and which paths I wanted to go increased increased. I found it easier to make decisions and notice when I was no longer “well aligned”.
More and more I remembered the principles I had learned in yoga in everyday life and I found that the actual practice begins when you leave your mat. Where did I go with my thoughts while I was eating, how did I meet my fellow human beings? Yoga is practice, yoga needs practice, action. Even if other tasks seem more important and attract attention, the time to practice will be found on purpose.
That is the magic of yoga. On the mat you learn how much strength and gentleness lie in yourself. Prana can be experienced directly. You learn to have trust, in yourself, but also in life.
This trust allows for transformation, the willingness to open up causes one to follow the inner voice more and more and thus express size and grace step by step.
My first yoga teacher once said, “Watch out, yoga can totally change your life. If you don't want that, you'd better not practice. "
She was right.
Nicole Konrad / Openlotus - the yoga school in Cologne
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