“The longer one engages a dynamic, active yoga practice, the more they begin to intuitively know that there is another, undiscovered aspect of yoga. This unexplored aspect of yoga is the deep, passive, supported relaxation and release of restorative practice. There is a quality of relaxation that is beyond the conscious control of the mind and that is beyond the capacity of the body to achieve through any active means.” – Greg Riley
I discovered yoga at least 7 years ago for the second time. The first time was in college 35 years ago. This time I stuck with it and have realized just how helpful it has been to both my physical and mental well being. This time I was able to reach beyond and realize what Greg refers to above as the undiscovered aspect of yoga. First it is challenging to the body trying to flex and bend and stretch and lengthen parts of your body you may never have even known existed. You take beginner classes just wanting to learn the names of the asanas or positions. Then you might try restorative yoga to enjoy the restful and less strenuous side of yoga. But as I progressed, I couldn’t get enough. I tried all types of classes: restorative, power yoga, flow, partner yoga, even the hot Bikram yoga.
A few years ago I took a three-month Advanced Course through The Yoga Company that was the beginning of the official Yoga Teacher Program. I couldn’t get enough. I wanted to understand why my practice was doing so much for me, I was stronger, more flexible, healthier, and when I missed yoga, my mood changed and my energy level dropped.
I began to realize the restorative aspect of yoga that Greg refers to and although I knew I was working my body hard, I also knew that the breathing I was doing to get me through my 75-minute workouts was a key to learning to go inside, relax where there was tension, and fall deeper into each pose. I began to realize how yoga has taught me to resist less and soften more. I have learned through my yoga practice to ease into life even when the current feels it is going against me. My practice was not just a physically demanding workout that required me to position myself into pretzel-like shapes, but it had become a way to use my breath to go beyond what I thought I could do and relax into what my body was capable of.
Discover yoga for yourself and see how it might help you take care of you!