Yoga Poetry

I was looking on the good old world wide web for a good poem to read during savasana today and I found a nice one to use, however, it soon occurred to me that there was a much easier solution. I am a writer – duh! I needed to write my own poems for savansana. And I did! And here it is! This is just the beginning, yoga poetry has never crossed my mind but this is something really special. I’ve always thought my best gift for anyone was my words, and that’s true for yoga too. It’s a little hug for my classes, can’t wait to try it out. This one is about ahimsa, which is a component of the Yamas, the first limb of yoga in Raja Yoga. This concept encourages you to practice non-harm, this is harm to others and yourself. It’s a beautiful concept and while we often finds it easy to practice this on others, we forget to be kind to ourselves. This poem emphasises this self-love.

Honour

As my body surrenders to the mat
I feel the love in my bones and on my skin
Soft to touch
I honour this body, I honour this life
And in doing so I bring no harm to myself
I search for those parts in me that need healing
And I send my light to these places
The light which radiates from my body is my life force
I give my light freely and I am then surrounded by love
I am well, I am happy, I am loved
As I honour my body, it honours me

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Namaste

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Yoga Myth Busting

I’m about to offer yoga to my work colleagues and while I know people will generally be open to the idea, there are always those who have preconceived notions on what yoga is ‘all about’. I’m hoping to convert a few of them to my ‘cult’.

Yoga is a religion – it has some ties to Hinduism but really it respects whatever faith you may follow. There is every chance it will deepen your faith. When you come together at the end, with hands in prayer, bowing while saying namaste, all you are doing is saying I see and respect the life force in you as you see and respect the life force in me.

Yoga is for skinny, flexible people – yoga is for absolutely everyone! If you can breathe, you can do yoga!

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Dana Falsetti (L) and Jessamyn Stanley (R) are two yoga teachers who have been inspiring yogis worldwide with their body positivity and general awesomeness. Check them out on Instagram!

Yogis need to be Vegans – while there is a movement which practices this idea, it’s not a strict rule. One of the limbs of yoga (a component of Raja Yoga) is ahimsa, which means non-harm. That’s generally where the Vegan idea comes from. I, however, thoroughly enjoy meat!

Yoga is for women – the original Yogi masters were men and attendance at classes by men is increasing. Check out Boys of Yoga! The group has a great saying ‘Some might think yoga makes you less of a man. The truth is, it makes you a better one.’

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Adam Husler (L) and Patrick Beach (R) are well known teachers and yogis. There’s nothing wrong with looking strong right? These guys as well as The Boys of Yoga have great Instagram accounts as well.

Yoga is only about flashy poses like handstands – the most difficult pose in yoga is savasana (aka corpse pose). This comes at the end of practice, where we let the body reset, through meditation. To be still is the ultimate goal in yoga and this is why it is so hard! The poses that challenge me vary from day to day and it’s about your ability to adapt to change in body and mind. (Doing a handstand would be cool one day though!)

Yoga isn’t a good workout – if you haven’t done a power yoga class or hot yoga, you will change your mind on this! It also compliments any exercise program and many professional teams do yoga to help recovery. (The Brisbane Lions have been doing it for years – still waiting for it to help them win!)

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The Brisbane Lions with Simon Kerle (former professional basketballer and also trained at NRG Power Yoga – my training centre)

Yoga is too expensive – keep an eye out for karma yoga offers, teacher training and full moon yoga. These are often by donation. Most studios have great introductory offers to try out classes and in the end the investment is wonderful for your health. Looking at the long term benefits, you will save on hospital and doctor’s bills, medication, etc.

Yoga is for young people – it helps to keep your body moving! There’s a bunch of amazing, experienced yogis who are killing it in handstand with grey hair. And in the end, if you can still pull your undies up, tie your shoes and hug your loved ones, you’re totally winning!

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Bette Calman nailing plough pose and crow in her late 80s! (I can’t even do those ones!)

Yogis are totally chill all the time – what I notice mostly is that even though I experience negative emotions all the time, I let go of them more freely. It does not mean putting up with ill treatment, it’s about respecting yourself as well as others.

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For all of the excuses – we have answers ready! Just get to class!

 

 

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The Cult of Self

This is my church. This is where I heal my hurt… Faithless

The search for meaning in our lives is not new, the Greeks philosophised about it thousands of years ago. Religion became the touchstone of knowing one’s self, and this was through knowing God. However, as we have moved towards a more secular society, the search for meaning has taken many different paths. My path has brought me to the mat. I’ve studied many religions in the search for some sort of group to identify with and while certain tenants have appealed to me, there would always be something that I couldn’t quite accept, homophobia was out, as well as misogyny so that ruled out most of the faiths, and no one is ever going to tell me I can’t eat bacon! Sorry Islam and Judaism! Maybe Nietzsche was right and God is dead, and I started reading Christopher Hitchens to see if maybe I was an atheist. I see his point of view and found myself nodding along with him, the bible is a piece of fiction which has no place in modern society but I was still found wanting. What I wanted was faith, hope and spirituality.

I first stepped on the mat to release the stresses of the day with a work friend. We would need our weekly fix of yoga and it brought us together as friends. She moved away but I knew I needed to keep going and so I bought a membership to our town’s first studio. I was going to get my money’s worth and go to lots of  classes! All the while my little brain was looking for that meaning. And you know what? I found it! Spoiler alert, the journey on the mat is a journey to yourself. I have found all the things I was looking for in yoga that I was looking for in religion. I found acceptance, faith, spirituality and love. And it was all about me, and by that I don’t mean taking selfies and shopping for myself, a lot (although there’s some of that), it was about knowing myself better, accepting who I am and aiming to be better in the future. The yamas and niyamas could replace the 10 commandments easily. Meditation is a prayer in itself, where we can send gratitude to the real people in our lives, including ourselves. And that whole stretching business, it’s the glue that binds it together and helps you to conquer fears (not face planting in crow pose), have faith (one day I may be able to do a handstand) and harness your energy. There is no sin, there is no hell or devil, there is only love and that is something I can get down with. 

Faith is a place of mystery, where we find the courage to believe in what we cannot see and the strength to let go of our fear of uncertainty

Brene Brown

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