Yoga: Delight on the Mat, by Jodi Fischtein

What brings us to our yoga mat each day? As practitioners we cultivate agility, fluidity and acceptance. These are just a few descriptives. I was asked to explain the concept of delight and how it weaves into our yoga practice.

Delight is the sensory experience that all sentient beings seek. Initially I sensed delight as a colour. I see tangible shades of pink, e.g. Laurent-Perrier Rose and Maison Ladurée . To move beyond the material, delight within our practice can be experienced as bhavana which alludes to a feeling or cultivation.

Delight can arise when we are in a state of creativity, and with yoga we thrive in creativity through fluid movement, altruism and self-realization. Onwards we endeavor to feel that tribal connection. We observe yoga tribes as seekers of the truth, “being” with the truth, or satsang, which quiets a busy mind.

This cultivation or bhavana can be traced to an early Buddhist Canon, the Pali Canon: metta-bhavana, translated “cultivation” or “development of loving-kindness.”

As we move through realms of happiness and unhappiness, we assemble memories of bygone delights. We return to the diversions that gave us pleasure. We return to our yoga mat, time and again. Delight can evolve from self-seeking to sharing. The delight of helping others thrive brings us to metta-bhavana, or loving kindness.

Yoga in Toronto is plentiful and joyful. Many yoga teachers are quite passionate about their practice and find delight watching their students evolve. So I asked: “What gives you delight in your yoga practice right now?”  These were the answers I got.

“When I’m able to focus entirely on my breath, disengaging from asana and maintaining an consistent vinyasa, that delights me in my practice.”

– Ruth Zive, an inspiration, five kids! 5:30am daily Mysore practice.

“I bask in delight, with gratitude, as my yoga practice continuously informs me of who I am, what I value and what I am learning today through a physical and spiritual experience.” 

– Sari Nisker, Spynga. She holds a calm space for all.

“The sun shining through my stained glass window and altar gave me delight this morning.”

– Nicky Poole, 889 Yoga. Her generosity is beyond, as I witnessed.

“Daily, through morning sit and physical practice I am reminded of the magic of movement, a connection to the stillness within my creative being, a feeling of freedom, and my closest connection to magic..I thrive in the magic of movement.” 

– Amber J , Misfit Studio.

“I helped a student overcome their fear and they did a yoga asana they never thought possible. Now they will ask themselves, ‘what else can I do that I never thought was possible’.”

– Daniel Lacerda, Mr. Yoga.

“When I can really drop-in and get completely lost in my practice, I feel a sense of warmth and connection that is nothing short of delightful.”

– Kate Gillespie. So strong, kind and inspiring.

“Honestly, heat and dripping onto my mat in a room full of other yogis with good jams.” 

– Corrie Teahen, 889 Yoga. Corrie keeps it real. Authenticity.

“My practice and meditation are keeping me healthy, happy, vibrant and bring a smile to my face and peace to my heart.” 

– Michael Siddall, Y-Yoga. Michael’s guidance is sought out in many communities.

“In my daily meditation practice, I experience delight from simple yet profound insights to life that I receive from simply ‘being’. Makes everything more clear in my life.” 

– Michael DeCorte, Jock Yoga. Uplifting. His path is a cleansing fire.

So when you see the yogi huggers closing in on you, maybe you embrace their bear hug, withmetta-bhavana having a cumulative effect on your well-being.

Yoga in all its manifestations should feel delightful, introspective and disciplined all at once. Come together and experience joy.

Jodi Fichstein smallJodi is a mixed lineage yoga teacher, loving the many aspects of Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. She has also completed Thai Yoga massage training. In 2010, Jodi visited Kerala, India with world renowned teacher Shiva Rea, to immerse herself in local Ayurvedic traditions, as well as the ancient South Indian martial art Kalarippayattu. Jodi has near completion of 500 hours in Prana Flow Yoga which builds on her foundation 200 hour training that she received from Cynthia Funk at the Yoga Sanctuary in Toronto. Jodi is committed to raising money and awareness for projects she believes in. She lives in Toronto with her husband, four children and a pomeranian.