Can you relate?
That's what we usually think of yoga; bendy, granola-eating, pretzel people who go through life spewing sunshine and rainbows. Except for me, I don't spew rainbows. I toot glitter like Guy Diamond ;)
If you've ever been to a yoga class, you've probably spent a few hours on a mat bending your body into different positions, felt a bit out of your element at times, and looked at other people in the class and thought "how do they do that?". You might have had a teacher encourage you to set an intention, and you may have thought, what the heck is this? It might even have sounded something like this:
I hope that made you smile, even if you've never been to a yoga class.
Just like with any form of exercise, you've probably always felt better after the class, even if it pushed you further than you thought you could go or left you feeling a bit inadequate and unbendy (let's make that a word).
Intentions, poses, the things we learn by going through those poses, are all well good. But the work, if you will, of yoga, the benefit or purpose of yoga, isn't about becoming a pretzel on the mat. It about taking all that off your mat. So how do we do that? How do we take it off the mat and into our lives? How do we develop, strengthen, and trust what I'm going to call our EPS, similar to GPS, but fundamentally different?
That's my intention, to share ways to do just that, to take yoga and other disciplines off the mat. To develop, strengthen, and trust our Emotional Positioning System. Because we need more than just geolocation to navigate our way through life, don't we?
And maybe, just maybe, I'll spew a rainbow or toot some glitter in your direction, too.
Let's start with a little background, shall we? Many moons ago, an Indian scholar names Patanjali compiled the Yoga Sutras. He didn't invent yoga, but he did transcribe a long-standing oral tradition. The Sutras are like a map or instruction manual. They help us use all aspects of yoga to move towards a more meaningful life and to find contentment . Most of us think of yoga as bendy postures that wrap us like pretzels, and that's all well and good, but that's not really what yoga is all about.
Yoga is all about cultivating a connection your self, your inner life, so it matches your outer life and leaves you feeling whole. Ghandi said, "happiness is when that you think, what you do, and what you say are in harmony". I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like contentment to me. That's yoga It's a tool to help you get there. That tool has eight parts, and Asanas, or yoga poses, aren't even the first of them.
There are eight limbs to yoga roughly translated as:
1. Yamas - attitudes toward the world
2. Niyamas - attitudes towards self
3. Asanas - yoga postures we're familiar with
4. Pranayama - breathwork
5. Pratyhara - withdrawal from the sense or turning inward
6. Dharana - concentration
7. Dhyana - meditation
8. Samadhi - enlightenment
I love this image from benoityoga.com. It will come in handy as we explore some of these limbs and it gives a simple metaphor for each one.
Over the next weeks I'll be sharing how yoga is meaningful beyond the bendy poses we see on social media, how these eight limbs actually work in real life, and how to take them off the mat.
And that's not all!
Because the yoga mat isn't the only "mat" that we practice on. There are all kinds of mats.
So, I'm looking for guest contributors!
Do you have a practice that you've learned to take off the mat? Send your ideas and let's chat! Comment below or click the email icon at the top of the page to connect with me.
I'm Tonia, a Midwesterner transplanted to Colorado. I'm a mom of two lovely littles, a yoga instructor, DIY-er, teacher, stay at home mom, and a doTERRA Wellness Advocate. I blog about a little bit of all of these and everything in between!
Are you looking for natural health options, but don't know where to start? Book a 1-on-1 appointment with me! We'll spend about 30 minutes getting to know your health goals and concerns, learn a bit about doTERRA, and go over the most commonly used oils that meet your needs. You don't have to buy anything, but if you see something you like, of course I can help you!