January 13, 2014

Yoga as the Art of Awareness. ~ Edith Lazenby

Yoga is many things to many people.

And there is something for everyone. As I am fond of saying, quoting a dear friend, it is a deep file.

I think of yoga as engagement.

And what happens when we engage? Experience.

And to Grok experience takes awareness.

Hence, these days, I hear myself telling my students that yoga is the art of awareness.

Yoga literally means to yoke, bring together. So we notice our thoughts, our feelings, and the vessel, the body. We experience self. We engage self. And we do this to grow and learn.

My goal in life is to grow and to grow I must learn.

Yoga is a tool, a Dharma, a way of being, that invites me to grow and learn with every breath. Yoga asks me to notice my inhale and my exhale. Yoga asks me to feel. Yoga asks me to experience my body, my heart, my mind, my spirit.

Yoga does this on the mat by teaching alignment on a physical level which brings balance on an emotional level and evens the thoughts out on a mental level. In final relaxation we meet our mind and experience calm and stillness, or we see the happenings that are often present but we don’t see them because we are texting while watching television, cleaning the house, sending an email and planning the next meal.

Yoga does this off the mat when we are standing in line at the grocery store and feel our breath tighten because we have places to be and the clerk is not fast enough. And while we reckon with our patience, or lack of it, we notice the feet and try to balance on all four corners instead of pronating and then we soften our knees so they aren’t locked or hyperextended.

We may also begin to wonder what it means when our teacher shares that yoga used to be more about meditation rather than the physical poses they call asanas.

I have been teaching yoga full time since 2005. Before I started taking classes in 1997 I lived on diet coke and smoked a lot. I did not quit smoking till last year,  and am embarrassed to say, but I did quit. The Dharma of yoga encouraged me to better my body, mind and heart, by focusing on presence, breath and balance.

And in yoga we often speak of intention. I speak of it in my classes almost all the time. This awareness, taking a moment to reflect and ask: What is my intention here and now, brings awareness to the forefront.

Intention is everything. I may not always be kind but it is always my intention to be kind.

My intentions pave the way for my actions; and I keep the art of yoga, awareness, not only in front of my mind, but I wrap it around me.

I want to understand myself better. I want to have deeper relationships with friends, new and old. I want to find love and peace with all members of my family. I want to love my students with the same abandon a mother loves a child.

Yoga is the art of awareness. And if it is a science, which it is as well, it is the science of love, but that my friends, is another blog.


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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photo: Chris Mare via Pixoto

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