Yoga Has Your Back… and Your Heart

by | Mar 26, 2013 | Living Yoga, On Love | 7 comments

seated heart pic

Today it is popular knowledge that yoga’s benefits include physical gains like increased flexibility, balance, stamina and strength, yes?  But how do these gains translate and impact your daily life?  And what is this talk about the more subtle benefits of yoga such as relieving stress, being a nicer person, a more conscious being on the planet, and engaging and loving more fully in your life? 

So I want to know, maybe yoga has supported your back, but how does it care for your heart?

Patanjali tells us in sutra 1.14 that yoga’s benefits come when practice is sustained over time, and with great devotion.  Although Patanjali is talking about the practice of meditation, (yes, meditation, not yoga classes like we know them today)* ask any yogi who has sustained their asana practice over time, and they will tell you that the subtle benefits of yoga are available to them too.

While Patanjali’s work is based in classical dualistic thought, it’s a tantric precept (and I’m not talking about neo tantra here, ie. sexual practices)** that the body can be a vehicle for union with God (or our higher Self, spirit, or as you experience the One.) This is hatha yoga, the physical practice of yoga, as we know it in yoga studios today.

But how does the subtle stuff work?

As the body lines up physically, prana, the vital, conscious energy, flows more freely, and when this happens, we find more of our center, we’re more calm, we can let go of the little things because we begin to see the bigger picture, and we find we are more connected to the greater fabric of our lives.

Think of no bottleneck in the internet highway, or finding the clear channel on the radio dial, or the spring break-up of ice in the mountain lake that sends the river to nourish the valley below.

This is prana flowing through the energetic channels in our body.  No congestion, no static or noise, and no blockages of the path means quieter mind and healthy body–everything in flow with nature.

At Bhava, we recently completed a challenge of taking 14 classes in 28 days, ie. a practice, sustained over time and with great love!  When asked their gains, students expressed that while they came to “let go” of something, they left “having found connection… with the courage inside themselves, with their spiritual nature, and with their loved ones.”  They talked about “going through transitions” in their lives, and having yoga to plug into gave them the “inner strength to stay steady on their course.”

Yoga has your back… and your heart

Sometimes it’s pain that motivates us to seek yoga for relief, and the absence of pain is the open door for more of life’s fullness.  A student wrote about a private session we had recently:

“Little did I know three months ago that today I would be thankful for a pinched sciatic nerve. I was in so much pain I could barely stand. The simple routine of poses you gave me has fixed me.  I now have zero back pain!

I’ve also joined the Fundamentals class and it is superb! The thing that I’m thankful for the most is the amount of energy I have gained from practicing yoga.heartsinhandsmall

I’m no spring chicken but suddenly I feel like one!  And also, shortly after starting yoga, I met a very sweet and handsome man.  TMI?  Thank you Bhava, you are good for everything in Life!”  Ray C.

Can I just say, yoga has your back… and your heart!!!!

Yoga, when practiced in a studio setting, has the capacity for building community.  I’ve seen this happen at Bhava over the years.  Friendships form between students who otherwise might never have met.  One student commented, “I didn’t come here looking for community, but I found it.”   I see support and inspiration across the room on a daily basis, and at the end of the day, I come away feeling the love, and I hope that you do too.

Share with me your stories of how yoga has your back and your heart.

When we share the love, more love happens.

p. s.  *Let me know if you would like to hear more about Patanjali’s yoga sutras and how they show up in our daily lives.

**Let me know if you would like to hear more about Tantra rooted in spiritual texts… not the new age neo-tantric sexual practices–you can find that info anywhere.

7 Comments

  1. Acequia Jardin

    Wonderful blog!! Yes to Tantra and Patanjali. Love you!!! pamela via Acequia Jardin

    Reply
    • Bea Doyle

      Thanks Pamela, and yes, more to come on Patanjali today and the real tantra! Love you too!!!

      Reply
  2. Becky

    I don’t even need to speak with anyone to feel the togetherness… I only need to share one OM. Yoga has taught me to have balance in my life, openness in my heart, and to maintain a clearer mind.

    Reply
    • Bea Doyle

      Oh you’re so right Becky… so much unity to experience in the shared OM. Thank you for sharing the gifts of your practice.

      Reply
  3. Dani Jeffries

    Hi, Bea,
    I have been thinking a lot about the benefits of my yoga practice in my daily life. Aside from the obvious physical benefits (no more osteopenia!) I have been noticing a more subtle benefit. As you know, I am an artist, and most of my work is ceramic tile mosaics. I took several years off so that I could devote myself fully to being a mom (I’m not a multi-tasker, so it was one or the other for me). I began taking yoga classes with you when my daughter was 2. When she started going to school at age 5, I began to return to the practice of making art. I began a project a couple of years ago with the intention of showing it in a major art competition. I had a very specific vision of what I wanted to make, but I wasn’t sure why that image was so important. I tried to conceive of other ideas that might be more commercial or popular, but none came as strongly to me as that one. I decided to make the piece in the image that came to my mind so clearly and without effort.
    After the piece was complete, and was showing at the competition, the curator awarded it her “Juror’s Choice” award. She said she was drawn to the juxtaposition of the hard, cold, heavy material of the tiles with the soft, warm, airy feel of the piece. It got me thinking about why that image came to me so strongly and why I couldn’t shake it. The subject of the piece is an abstracted image of a sunrise and sunset. These are the exact moments of balance between the light and the dark. It’s when all the magic happens. Cold/warm, hard/soft, heavy/light. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that what I had made was a beautiful yin/yang.
    I think that my yoga practice has influenced my work in ways that I hadn’t noticed over the years. The piece that I made is by far the best and most satisfying of my career so far. It was so important to let go of outside pressures and my own preconceptions, and to really be in touch with myself and with what came from my heart and not so much from my head. I don’t think I could have felt that connection if I hadn’t been deeply devoted to my yoga practice over the course of these past seven years. I didn’t notice that this was happening, and it seems so obvious now. Many thanks to you for inspiring my continued practice.

    Namaste,
    Dani

    Reply
    • Bea Doyle

      Oh Dani, What a beautiful piece on how yoga has been working in your artwork and for you as an artist. I think the Universe is always speaking to us and I love thinking about how you received and then expressed the message through your art… and I'm sure in others ways in your life as well.

      And thank you for being such a dedicated yogi at Bhava. I hope your practice continues to serve you in both subtle and apparent ways.

      Love to you, Bea

      Reply
  4. Mike Pogue

    Bea, Thanks for this. I love getting your emails. For me, Yoga opens up a whole new space within my spirit that opens the possibility for new conversation. New awakenings. It takes me out of my dogmatic slumbers. I can't imagine a life without the mat, the community and the body of knowledge. When I read your comments, I was reminded of a passage that Rod Stryker wrote:

    "Yoga’s most sublime objective is to awaken an exalted state of spiritual realization, however the tradition also recognizes that this state does not exist in absolute isolation from the world and worldly matters. Thus, the yoga tradition also addresses how to live and how to shape your life with a commanding sense of purpose, capacity, and meaning. In short, yoga ultimately has less to do with what you can do with your body or being able to still your mind than it has to do with the experience of realizing your full potential.

    Rod Stryker

    OM,

    Mike

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *