This morning I did my daily yoga practice in the wake of the death of 95 year old yoga guru B.K.S Iyengar. As my sequence of poses wound down, I spied a photo of Mr. Iyengar at the front of the studio, which prompted me to reflect on the role yoga plays in my life.
In conclusion I sank into the final pose of lying down meditation realizing that yoga is what I have been practicing my whole life, and adding the formal practice of poses, breathing and meditation a few years ago, is simply the next step in evolution. This life long practice of yoga is what we are doing when we pay attention. These yogic moments are when we root ourselves in the present moment in response to fear, challenge, love...when we choose to act in response to something, we are practicing yoga. When we strive to make ourselves better, we are practicing yoga. When we unconditionally help another person, we are practicing yoga.
Yoga for me has been carving out a part of each day, to bring awareness to this way of living. Yoga for me has been to consciously bring this awareness to each of those thousands of moments each day that I am faced with a choice. The former is easy compared to the latter. The latter is harder work, and whose reward far surpasses that comforting feeling of drifting off to sleep in a comfortable bed.
Each day I get my downward dog on, and before I step back into the fray, I discover yogic desert...the GABA effect. GABA is one of our neurotransmitters, increased levels of which provide a calming effect. Somehow yoga poses increases the GABA in our system, and without fail each day I experience the this experience of calm and clarity. A feeling that enshrouds me as I stroll back into my choices!!!
Yoga is me taking responsibility for my own evolution.