"The Guru's Feet" a drawing of B.K.S. Iyengar's feet by Aretha Mckinney Blevins
by Holly Walck Kostura, certified Iyengar Yoga teacher
Let this, the dissolution of union with pain be known as Yoga. It is to be practiced with determination and an undismayed mind. -- The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter VI, verse 23)
One of our shared experiences as human beings living "between Earth and sky" is that we all will, at some point in time, experience pain. It may be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or a combination of these. The good news is that while we may not always be able to change what is happening for us (for example, the loss of a loved one or a chronic illness), we do have the ability to control what is happening to us.
Yoga is a spiritual practice that conditions our consciousness using the laboratory of our body and mind. Through yogic practices, we uncover this essential truth: The world around us may appear to be whirling out of control and we can choose our response to these external circumstances. Slowly, over time, these conscious choices (think one step in front of the other) create a pathway toward abiding peace and true happiness.
The progressive and yet interdependent steps in the practice of yoga are "100 percent or your money back" guaranteed to cleanse your body/mind and, as a result, afford you the opportunity to shine like a flawless diamond in the clear, blue sky. This blog post is called "Yoga for Peace and Happiness" because -- guess what -- you ARE peaceful and you ARE happy! You might not feel peaceful or happy, but trust me, I have been practicing this for almost 20 years now, and I know that you ARE THAT.
Here's the rub: You have to practice... but you don't have to practice a lot to improve your quality of life. If you take a weekly yoga class purely for the physical experience and you receive some benefit from that drop in the ocean of yoga, then imagine how much more brilliant and beautiful your life would be if you practiced everyday (yes, I am preying upon your consumer's mind here. (Does that make me the Don Draper of yoga?)
I was 23 years old when I started practicing yoga. The first day I practiced I felt deep down in my bones -- and they were very achy at the time -- that this yoga was going to change my life. And it did. For the better.
My first year of practice was done on the floor of my living room, watching a VHS tape of the woman who eventually became my teacher, Patricia Walden.
Watch in the following video as Patricia sagely describes how yoga will help you begin to transform.
I am now 40 (almost 41), and I could not be happier. Perhaps I could be a better teacher, wife, daughter, friend, cook, and so forth, but I could not be any happier. There is no one particular sequence for this state of being, so I have not included one with this post.
However, if you click here you will be directed to the "Resources" page of my website, where I share many of the books, websites, videos, and teachers that started me on the path of yoga.
And you are always welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about how you can start to practice yoga. I promise to answer.
Hari OM Tat Sat. All that is the Truth.
Yours in yoga,
Hatha is the sanctuary for those suffering every type of pain. It is the foundation for those practicing every type of Yoga. --Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Chapter I, verse 10)
For more from Maria Rodale, visit www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com