My approach to yoga is nurturing. Its goal is to support you and help you care about tending to your health—making time for yourself. I encourage you to appreciate where you are now. Enjoy it and grow from there. Explore. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we need to fix ourselves or conform to a specific, externally-determined type of person, an ideal which we think of as perfect. But it is the unique which is beautiful. And while yoga will tone you, calm you, help you sleep, focus, and enhance your health, all very worthy goals, what I hope for you most is a deep, internal experience of the spirit—nothing less than joy!
There is power in yoga.
When people pick up yoga, they usually think of it as exercise to keep or get in shape, as a way to relieve stress, or stay flexible, all good reasons to start, but there are many benefits to yoga that we don’t avail ourselves of, usually because we don’t even know about them in the West. Yoga is not about achieving a certain position or look, and mastery is not equivalent to athleticism. Sometimes I hear people say apologetically that they can’t do yoga; they can’t even touch their toes. But form is not the goal. A person’s strength or flexibility does not indicate how far they are on the yogic path. It is ironic that there are actually yoga competitions! The physical practice is only one vehicle which can help bring us to an understanding of our essence. There are seven more branches in the classical tree of yoga, and this site may be a good place to reflect on them.
The typical yoga class addresses three of the eight limbs of yoga: asana–postures, pranayama–breath, and pratyahara–relaxation and withdrawing of the senses. These three are an easy place to start because they focus on the body. They help us take care of our physical vehicle, giving us greater energy, better health, making us more relaxed, stronger, and in better shape generally. But there is more to yoga. It is a system for enhancing life, enhancing our connection to each other and the world.