In a yoga world that is garlanded by the latest yoga fashions and the scandals of a guru’s rise and fall, we must learn to let go of all excess and tune into the essential. Rather than striving for masterful asana (yoga poses), that can feed your ego (“Look at me! Look what I can do!”), keep yoga practice simple. Always listen to your body. Do not push. Ever.
Even as you do the same pose over and over, remember that each practice is entirely unique. It is a new moment. It is a new and fresh experience. As you breathe and move in and out of poses, consciously thank your muscles for stretching. Thank your bones for bearing weight. Thank your organs for doing their work. Thank your body for being such an amazing vehicle for your spiritual journey while on Earth.
Your body is just a temporary sheath and not who you are. It is yours to maintain, but it is not “yours”. This is important to remember, as it is very easy to be attached to our form, and forget that our true nature is formless, one with infinite consciousness.
Give thanks for the very gift of breathing, the gift of even being able to move. These are things we take for granted. Bringing our attention to them helps us remain humble, open, honest and true and remain present in the awesome gift of this body and this life. This brings yoga to life.
Cultivate the practice of sending love and gratitude to your body at all times, whether you are walking down the street, waiting for a bus or doing a yoga class. The practice of yoga, developing a deepening sense of rooted interconnection, is everywhere and always. Let the practice of sending love to your body become a part of your daily routine.
Find a quiet place where you can lie on your back, uninterrupted. Place one hand on your tummy and one hand on your heart. Then feel your body touch back. Feel your body touching your hand. Feel the relationship there. Then send gratitude to your body. Allow gratitude to fill you up, like a liquid light quenching a deep soul thirst. Thank all your body parts – your brain, your eyes, your mouth, your heart, your lungs… Go into as much detail as you like. Give thanks and receive the gratitude. Take as many opportunities as you can to sincerely thank your body for all the hard work it does, so you may evolve while you are on this planet. Wow!
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. In addition to being an internationally acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, producer and performer, she is a yoga teacher and holistic educator, having studied yoga and meditation since 1987, and developed her own yoga teaching style called YEM™: Yoga as Energy Medicine. Her current show, “Natamba”, brings forward a conscious energy into the pop mainstream.