by Michele Lawrence
Deep within each of us is wellness, wholeness and well-being. As yoga teachers and yoga therapists we have the great honor of giving students that access, that “window in,” simply by letting them feel and experience who they are. As yoga students, we come to understand that we are not separate and alone, but rather we are whole, we are Divine.
This is what makes the Yoga practice so relevant for all life situations – good and bad, happy and sad, healthy and sick. However, when we get sick, when are depressed, when we experience grief and loss, it's easy to forget who we are. When we feel “scattered and shattered,” it's easy to forget that we are whole. It is especially at times like this that we can forget our true nature, our Divine nature. But this is when it's more important than ever.
Every time our lifeforce –or prana – is blocked, it causes a form of dis-ease. And throughout our lives, there are many situations that can cause our prana to be constricted or blocked. In yoga, we re-establish the flow of life force. When we come to our mats and practice, we connect with our bodies. These bodies may be sick, they may have let us down, or they may be holding trauma, stress, grief and tension. We may even hold hatred toward our bodies. When we come to the mat we seek to create space – or as the Yogis call it, “sukha,” or good space. Sukha translates as pleasurable, joyful, comfortable, happy, relaxed. It is the opposite of discomfort, suffering or pain: Duhkha.
We practice asana (postures) to make space and feel what it is like to inhabit our bodies. In the practice we breathe to balance, we breathe to awaken, we breathe to calm. We bring our breath to where we are holding and ask for a release. We feel the flow of energy. In our asana practice, we ask not to judge our bodies or compare them to the others around the room. Instead we place our bodies in a special way, we stimulate the glands, the circulation, the blood flow, we find more breath, and then we sleep better, we feel better, we know we are alive. When we can re-establish the connection with life, we can re-identify ourselves according to our essence. As a result we become conscious of the wholeness we are, which is the aim of Yoga.
While from the outside a yoga class might seem like just a series of pose, it is much more. Yoga is connection, yoga is union. For people who show up at yoga studios, especially those who are grieving, sick or depressed, there is beauty in the ability to make connection and unity, both with the individuals sharing the practice in the room and the connection to the higher Self. Pain disconnects us. Yoga makes us whole.
Michele Lawrence is a yoga teacher, yoga therapist and director of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy, an accredited Yoga Therapy program. Through her own journey of Self-discovery, Michele has come to realize that yoga is a practice for all life situations. She believes in yoga’s ability to heal and transform, and that yoga, regardless of one’s ability, is available to all. Michele has been teaching yoga for over 10 years, is co-owner of Yogadurango, a successful studio in Durango, CO and the founder/director of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.
To contact Michele, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit innerpeaceyogatherapy.com Michele will be hosting the next Inner Peace Yoga Therapy Training in Austin Sept 17-30, 2017 and Feb 2-18, 2018