“The most important purpose of Yoga is to bring about a deep transformation of the individual–an awakening of intelligence that is free of dependencies and romantic beliefs and ready to meet the accelerating challanges of the 21st century.” ~ Ganga White
Asking me to choose my favorite style of yoga is like trying to pick out my favorite ice cream. It depends on the day, season, and what kind of mood I’m in. I’ve tried my fair share of yoga “flavors”; Iyengar, Para, Ashtanga, Restorative, Vinyasa, Aerial, Kundalini, Yin, Nidra, and even Stand up Paddle Board yoga.
I continue to research different styles to expand my yoga encyclopedia and keep my practice fresh. But there is one style that had my heart from the beginning. Vinyasa gets the prize for my “go-to” flavor, and it never disappoints.
Whether I’m engaging in a vigorous practice or a slow flow, I feel like I’m in a graceful dance with my body and breathe. I can become fully absorbed in my inhale and exhale, and let the breath take over and guide my movements. It is one of the rare moments where I am so firmly rooted in the present that outside thoughts stand little chance of distracting me. The practice allows me to get creative and find my own “flow.” I am able to explore different asanas and really feel into my own body.
Before diving into my yoga teacher training, I would have simply defined vinyasa as a flow class, a good workout where you’re in constant motion. It wasn’t until I started deepening my studies that I learned vinyasa means, “to place in a special way.” (Vi- in a special way, Nyasa- to place) It’s not just about coming up with a wonderful sequence that will leave you glowing with sweat and prana pulsing in your veins.
Vinyasa is the step by step approach, that systematically takes you from one point, and transitions you to the next. It is a dynamic and ever developing sequence that unfolds with an internal harmony and intelligence when we honor where we are.
When I practice vinyasa, I begin where I am, modify when I need, and remember that today is not like yesterday. Maybe I don’t take chaturanga this practice. Maybe I choose childs pose instead. Perhaps I skip a vinyasa all together and reconnect to my breath in down dog.[quote_right]”Vinyasa gets the prize for my “go-to” flavor, and it never disappoints.”[/quote_right]
The approach is the same for life off the mat. I can self reflect and see where I am and ask where I want to be. What are my goals? How am I going to get there? Sometimes I have to modify my path. Some days I get frustrated, am forced to practice self-compassion, and remind myself to simply breathe. There are moments when I can charge full speed ahead, and others when I need to step back and restore.
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Life on and off the mat is truly about going with the flow, and honoring your own personal journey. All life is yoga, its styles merely flavors to choose from. Vinyasa is still my favorite flavor, and always leaves me wanting more.