Finding Inspiration in Yoga

Posted by on 1/22/11 in Uncategorized

I can't lie. I haven't spent a good chunk of time researching the art and science behind practicing yoga. I've heard the terms and mantras and have become familiar with both, but my knowledge of the deeper meanings doesn't stretch far beyond that. I began practicing hatha yoga in my late teens as another form of fitness. Since then, I have used yoga as a time in my busy week that I can be alone; I can stretch while feeling my breath and worry about nothing but how well I feel the exercises throughout my body.

What occured to me later on was the thoughts that travel through my head as I go from one pose to the next. Some days were filled with nothing but my breaths, and others were stifled by to-do lists, among other things. Every class, my teacher would repeat the words, "Think of nothing but your breath. Concentrate on your pose and let everything else go." Not so easy for most. I took this particular class with two of my good friends. They both would end the hour-long class and have their own set of thoughts that we would share at the end. Similarly, they both had days when they were bombarded with neverending thoughts about old love or endless amounts of homework, and others that were filled with nothing but concern over doing a pose properly.

After reading around on the internet, I found that people were concerned with their lack of concentration and were looking for ways to abandon the thoughts that came to them during yoga. It seemed to me that most would concur that these random thoughts prevent the yogi from true concentration during practice. But what really is true concentration? For me, yoga became something personal. It wasn't about accepting another way of life as my own, but using it to improve upon the live I had been leading. Yoga became my own practice. I agree with the idea that yoga is a time to step away from the stresses of society, but it also became a time to reflect on those stresses. It's a time that one may say, you feel invincible. Any worries that may usually bring one down are not given that same power during practice.

Not only did this feeling of separation amount in my mind, but yoga was also a time of inspiration. In one particular instance, I was having great trouble coming up with an idea for a photo assignment. It was completely open; I was given the chance to photograph anything I want in whatever way I want. Most people with creative minds would marvel at the opportunity for this type of freedom. Instead, I found myself a complete standstill. It wasn't until my weekly yoga class that it suddenly came to me. The greatest thing to capture as a photographer are the things closest to them. In my case and at that particular time, yoga was close to me. As I stretched into pigeon pose, the image I needed popped into my mind, then one after the other, I envisioned more snapshots. All the inspiration I needed was in my mind the entire time, and yoga brought that to me.

As a way of introducing myself, these are my thoughts about my personal practices of yoga. I am new here at the Wanderlust world and thought it was important that I give a proper introduction to the blog readers. Yoga for me is what it becomes at that time. If I need to relieve stress, it's there; if i'm lacking inspiration, yoga brings it to me; if I need nothing, it's still there. I believe yoga is to each person, it's own. It brings many things to many different people with different needs. It is for this reason that I practice, and why I will practice for some time to come.

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