When I started practicing yoga 7 years ago, I remember chanting “Om,” saying “Namaste” and resting in Savasana while being in a state of pure bliss. That feeling was comforting, but I didn't know what it meant and honestly, I didn't care. I practiced exclusively for the physical benefits of the Asanas (physical postures). I was more interested in holding a handstand and looking good in a bikini than I was at fulfilling my emotional and spiritual hunger.
Then “stuff” hit the fan and my marriage ended in divorce. While that was a sad ending to a five-year relationship, I would describe that period as both the best and worse time of my life. I managed to stay very busy for a while. I finally felt like I was free with no one to hold me back; I could do anything and live anywhere. There was an entire world of possibilities. It was a very exciting time… until I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to live. I had no sense of belonging and when I wasn’t busy, I felt empty and alone. In the process of creating a new beginning, I embraced all aspects of yoga and my imperfect, broken, shallow self. Eventually that emptiness was replaced by love. I kept teaching and practicing what I love, hoping that it would make a difference.
While today I consider myself to be successful, that success has not been achieved without multiple failures. I have failed many times in many ways, but in the midst of those failures, I learned how not to lose touch with who I am. I believe that in each of us lies a place deep within the soul that is unchangeable, strong, steady, and is always at peace with the present moment. My yoga practice helps me find that place; The place where I learned how to fully express myself.
Your practice is what you want it to be. It is ever evolving and changes based on what your needs are. I firmly believe that there is nothing outside of you that is more important than what is deep within your soul. If you live from that place, you will succeed at your dharma (or true essence).
“Tada Drastuh svarupe avasthanam.” As a result of yoga or sustained, focused attention, the Self or seer is firmly established in its own form, and we act from that place... from our own true, authentic self. Yoga Sutra 1.3
By focusing and refining the mind through yoga, you gain clearer perception and learn to distinguish the mind, body, and emotions from your true essence or Self. You come to know that Self and act from that place of the Self, thus reducing your experience of suffering.
Om Yoga Instructor