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Yoga as a Spiritual Lifestyle

Yoga has diverse ways of being expressed in the lives of people. In simplicity, yoga is usually a framework of physical movements called postures.  They function to offer the practitioner, yogi, to have a spiritual experience breath, body, focus and senses.  Many people will practice yoga fashioned after the philosophy of a specific spiritual teacher.  There are people who become devoted to one philosophy of yoga and others who study many forms of yoga and integrate them into a personal expression. Both are authentic avenues of yoga as a spiritual lifestyle.  

When beginning the journey of yoga as a spiritual lifestyle, it is supportive to take classes at a yoga studio after treatment.  The structure of classes, experience of community and relationship with a teacher will allow yoga to become an integrated experience.  Overtime, the student may discover that yoga came alive in their life and the decision to maintain these structures will become optional.  

When this transcendence occurs, one may find themselves reflecting on what it means to take the yoga practice off the yoga mat and into the world.  The student may return to reflect on these core principles: breath, body, focus and senses and play with them in everyday non-yoga contexts.  For example:

  • Breath: be deeply connected to your breath in the rhythm of walking to the bus stop.
  • Body: discover internal connection to your upright spine as you sit at your laptop sending email.
  • Focus: playing with the dimensions of seeing and listening as you have a social conversation that is not optimally enthralling to you.
  • Senses: explore ways that you can experience layers of taste with appreciation of the healthy meal that you prepared.  

In addition to exploring yoga off the mat, you can also consider Karma Yoga which is the way that bring what you have learned onto the mat into the lives of others.  Sometimes this is sharing your practice or the way it has influenced your life.  Other times, it is simply being of service to the needs of the community that may seem unrelated to yoga.  With all of this woven together and adapted to, one has become a yogi.  

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