I’ve been thinking very hard about my yoga practice recently. Like many people, I started off looking for the physical benefits of yoga. I wanted the strength and flexibility that come from a vigorous practice. Any spiritual benefits I received would be nice side-effects. And as is often the case, with time the spiritual benefits of yoga came to be much more important to me than having nice abs or stronger arms. With Kundalini yoga, I am able to choose my practice based on the internal, emotional, or spiritual effects I hope to amplify in my life. That’s not to say I can’t have a little fun too, like pretending to snore in the “Kriya to Relieve Inner Anger,” but more and more I’ve been pushing myself to take my Kundalini yoga practice seriously. With that in mind, here are 3 ways to honor the benefits yoga has brought me in all areas of my life.
As much as I aspire to practice every day, it’s a rare week that I manage to meet my goal. Some excuse always manages to derail my aspirations – “I’m so sore from the set I did yesterday,” my body might complain. Or “I’m having cramps and can’t do the inversions I like, so what’s the point?” But if we don’t put in the effort, it will be much more difficult to reap the full benefits of our practice. Can you imagine Mahan Kirn Kaur Khalsa using sore muscles as an excuse to skip out on her decade long Bound Lotus practice? No? Neither can I.
There are Kundalini yoga kriyas as short as 15 minutes, some relaxing and some quite challenging, so there is always time to do some yoga each day. If you aspire to practice yoga daily, committing to one of the Spirit Voyage Global Sadhanas is another great way to ensure that reach your goal.
One thing that I hear over and over, and have said myself, is that yoga is incredibly healing. Your back hurts? Do some yoga. You’re feeling stressed? Do some yoga. Have a bad breakup? Yoga. I’m not suggesting that we start knocking on doors, sharing yoga with unsuspecting people. But if someone in your life could really benefit from a practice, share it! Yogi Bhajan said, “If you only know one kriya, then share that. Just be humble, teach it. Every student is a teacher.” Hiding our light, or clamming up when someone comes to us in need is no way to act. Arthur Boorman, whose amazing video transformation is making the rounds on youtube, was turned away by multiple yoga teachers before he finally found one who was willing to try to help him. Imagine if that final teacher had turned him away also.
As yogis, we have a responsibility to share our light and our practice with those who want to know about it. So next time a friend asks you about yoga, share one of your dvds with them. Invite them to class, or loan them a yoga manual. Share the joy and healing that yoga can bring!
For me, at least half the challenge of yoga is to truly internalize the lessons it teaches and put them into practice. All of the sweat and sore muscles are for nothing if I don’t remember what they taught me when I’m off my mat. It’s a process, and we’re all certain to forget from time to time. That isn’t an opportunity to berate ourselves, or beat ourselves up. It is an opportunity to practice, right there in that very moment.
Journaling can be a very helpful tool for learning to apply our yoga. Taking a few minutes a day to write in a journal can bring flashes of insight to our minds that we might not have otherwise. From there we can more easily notice the times when we need yoga the most, and do it!