Pretty much on a daily basis, I'm asked what I do for a living. I respond by saying, "I'm a lifestyle concierge." A follow-up query is usually in the form of "oh, interesting, what's that?" At which time, I reply, "I take people where they want to go in life by using all the tools and means necessary and I use yoga as the foundation." That's when they light up, "oh, gosh, I've done yoga before, and I'm awful. I can't stretch, balance or do any of those complicated poses."
My face stays neutral as I assess what to say next. I have two options. I can say, "oh yeah, I hear you" or "oh, but wait, yoga is so much more than that."
The first reply validates to the person that yoga is, in fact, a physical practice with stretching, sweating and toning the muscles are of primary concern. At best, that is what you call judging a book by its cover. Although yoga is great for those benefits, it would just be scratching the surface.
My second response would allow for a deeper dialogue about the vastness of the yoga tradition and open you up the possibilities to enriching your life toward happiness, freedom, and fulfillment. Since I rarely get the chance to engage in the second response, permit me this space to offer an alternative perspective to yoga in the coming paragraphs.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Yoga could have never survived thousands of years if its foundation was solely on stretching or toning the body. The greatness of yoga, and why it was created in the first place, was to fulfill the quest of living to your highest potential. Yoga is rather not something you do (or practice) but a state of being that can be reached. That state is unsurpassed calm and deep presence. Remaining there is being in the state of yoga. But the teachings go on to say that once you get there, you begin to access your power. This power is defined very clearly as "the ability to do what you want to do, the ability to not do what you want to do, and the ability to undo what needs to be undone." That is the full flowering of yoga and the is the definition of freedom.
How much do you need this deeper form of yoga and the goal of freedom today in order to deal with all worldly external forces? To go a step further, ask yourself if the yoga you are currently doing today is truly helping you find this sustained calm and this inner freedom?
YOGA GOT STYLE
The style of yoga that I teach called ParaYoga, (www.parayoga.com) draws upon many different forms of yoga. Be prepared to be overwhelmed or confused but it encompasses the following styles and techniques: karma yoga, gyana yoga, bhakti yoga, kirtan, visualization, bavana, ritual, contemplation, nada yoga, swara yoga, kriya yoga, mantra yoga, kundalini yoga, laya yoga, and raja yoga. I don't expect you to know these nor is this writing the space to explain them. Yet just the list alone could begin widen your perspective that there is SO much to access your personal freedom All of these are in service of your inner world and touching your greater potential.
MAKING IT REAL
From the above abstract list comes a list of very practical ways yoga can help you live with more purposeful and freedom-filled life:
As a self-inquiry tool, to build more awareness of your daily thoughts and choices that are moving you closer or further away from that definition of freedom
Creating resolves or sankalpa to achieve short-term goals
Learning to practice tapas by giving up a potent habit that will make space for positive change
Deepening your ability to stay calm and carry on by experiencing conscious relaxation and to connect more deeply with the inner body
Master the 4 aspects of mind (lower mind, higher mind, I-maker and the storehouse) to see how they shape your view of the external world
Learn how to control the mind-movement through concentration so it's in service of your purpose on earth
Using your breath as the pivotal bridge between the body and mind so it's the continual reminder of the body-mind connection, with the nerves, organs, heart and how it helps amplify the inner world
TO STRETCH BEYOND
This short list brings light to the various ways yoga can be a more vital part of your life. As humans we have a lot of UNTAPPED POTENTIAL. Just assume you have more to uncover and more to use. As this year comes to the close, use this space to see if there are more ways you can use your energy more effectively to take you where you want to go in life. Yoga is here to be in service of that focus and intention and as a Lifestyle Concierge, I feel I am in the service of yoga and the journey you wish to take.
And as you continue to strive to make your life more powerful and to reach your highest potential (who doesn't want this?), contemplate these 5 qualities of reality:
The world is beautiful because it's a manifestation of the most beautiful one
Life is a gift from the Divine
I am part of the Divine
The world is an endless ocean of ambrosia; my body is but an island.
All that happens is waves rising and falling, neither inauspicious nor meaningful.
Bottom line: Find a good teacher to connect with and dig into the time-tested methods of yoga that will give you the life you desire. I am here for you. Reach out today!