It is so interesting to me what leads people to the mat. Many times it is a very broad reason such as finding some inner balance. Often I will hear that they want to strengthen their core and relieve back pain. One woman I know used yoga to cure a broken heart. I myself, although a teacher for many years, assert that yoga did not present itself to me until I had received a cancer diagnosis at which time I immersed myself in it as a means of restoration. And to be completely honest, I am of the camp that believes it is completely OK to come to the mat with an intention of developing Madonna’s arms.
More recently, in planning my Yoga and Art retreat, I have become fascinated by the link between Yoga and creativity. In essence I have always felt like there was inherently more room in my head to let the creative juices flow after a good yogic mind clearing took place. There is typically a generous amount of mumblings and rumblings from the daily grind of kids and career that seem to stuff my brain with too much mind chatter. If I don’t take the time to renew, that “stuff” leads to many attempts to sit down and write, only to end up mindlessly grasping at literary straws…..and bad writing.
And speaking of bad writing, prior to yoga I was afraid to let go of any of the words I chose, fearful that putting myself out there would lead to criticism. Yoga has redefined my sense of self and taught me to accept that I am always evolving. Sometimes my writing isn’t great, but it’s mine and it’s me and I am finally at age 42 pretty comfortable in my skin (again, thank you yoga).
So, yoga has brought me here to a pretty good place. But again, the beauty of the practice is that I will continue to absorb the many benefits. More and more I use the philosophy on my kids, try to incorporate it into my life when I become impatient with my spouse, and yes, even to revel in the bit of knowledge that my own arms look a little more sinewy than they did in my twenties.
I can't write this post without concluding that yoga amongst beautiful surroundings, surrounded by the sounds of waves and the smells of nature, is the finest. I don't write this is an effort to promote the retreats on Madeline Island but to encourage all practitioners to find a surrounding that gives them peace and the best of the entire combination of senses. It is a beautiful means of renewal and compliment to whatever brings you to the mat.