Yoga is your refuge

Category : General advice 5th November 2018

Inside Yoga 248 (5/11/2018)

There are many reasons why we practice yoga and its importance varies from time to time, we might even feel quite ambivalent towards yoga and our practice while it ticks along, but it is when we are going through a difficult period that we are able to realise how valuable our practice is to us.

By retreating into our practice we will find ourselves able to cope with whatever life is hurling at us at that moment.
The inspiration to write this article today is a conversation with one of my yoga students who I have been teaching for many years. I had not seen her for several weeks and when I next saw her, she explained that her 85-year-old father had been taken seriously ill and had been taken to hospital. She had spent the last few weeks staying at her parents’ home, driving her mother every day on a four-hour round trip from home hospital. Thankfully, her father had stabilised and she has been able to return home.
While telling me this story, she added that it was her yoga practice which helped her get through this difficult time. Every day when they got back to her parents’ home, she would leave her mother and go up to her room to do some yoga practice. Her mum understood this is what she needed. She also added she had left her yoga mat at her home such was the rush when she had to drop everything and drive to her parents, which is also testimony to one person’s determination to practice… our props, ie a yoga mat, help but we can still practice whatever the conditions.
When she told me this story I replied that I was glad that her yoga practice had supported her, and that this was the reason why it is there and such a personal support. As mentioned at the start, we might not realise how beneficial and supportive our yoga practice is until we really need it, but it is important that we keep practising so it’s always part of our life and there when we need it.
Our yoga practice is a refuge, a place where we can retreat to, where we can focus on what is needed at that moment, removing unwanted stressed and strains, and increasing our energy levels to help us cope with the next hurdle in life.
Imagine a before and after picture sequence: before practice, we feel all negative and weighed down by the burdens of life, and then picture after, we feel lighter and clearer. Similarly, picture yourself entering a room, and leaving all your unwanted baggage in that room so that we you leave you feel lighter and more mobile when leaving, more able to engage with the world. In that room you had practised some yoga.
Yoga practice does not necessarily remove the problems we face, but it helps us to restore our energy levels, to sharpen our clarity and understanding, and help us respond to what we face in life.
Yoga, and in particular the meditation during practice, is an essential support to our daily lives. It is the friend who supports us whatever happens but someone we might take for granted when times are good.
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