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Years ago when I was working at a Christian school, I had to fight to have my students learn basic yoga poses, since the administration was convinced that yoga was a “religion” and had no place in a Christian school.
At the time, my argument was that “yoga is a lifestyle – not a religion” and therefore was appropriate content.
In the end, I was able to have my students experience basic yoga postures, although I wish I could go back and change the wording of my argument. I would have said “yoga is a way of life”.
Wherever home is be it Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Halifax or Montreal, St John’s or even aboard Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Bali, Thailand, New Zealand, London, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro and Tel Aviv, yoga is a way of life. For me, it is my breath, my movement, my energy, and what guides my actions and reactions.
If I stop breathing, I will die. So yes- breathing is part of my “way of life”, but the WAY I breath is equally important.
Through yoga, I have learned to use breathing to calm myself, to manage pain, to reduce anxiety, and to achieve the “bliss” moment during yoga flow routines (and during Sun Salutations in my backyard).
I enjoy the challenge of balance poses, and the mental and physical focus that is involved. I love feeling strong, and being able to hold and move my body. I feel encouraged when the effort becomes easy and I am able to relax into a pose. I know that the physical activity is prolonging both my health and life.
I choose to surround myself with positive energy. I surround myself with positive people, and I avoid people who dwell on the negative. The pandemic helped me to realise how focused I am on “the positive”.
I made sure that my children had a positive “social isolation” experience, and I went back to work early (I am a school teacher) and created inspirational bulletin boards around the school to make sure that the students and staff would have a positive environment when they returned to the school.
Negativity exists in the world, but my yoga practice has taught me to focus on the positive. I work on the things I can change- and let go of those which are out of my control.
I can control my mindset through grounding exercises, and because of yoga- I have incorporated a culture of gratitude in my classroom.
Morals or ethics– are the rules by which one leads their life. I have come to realise that “good morals” really have a lot to do with choosing the most positive outcome in a situation based on what is good for others and the world, and not just what is good for oneself.
Making choices based on compassion, choosing to help and love others, to offer forgiveness– all of which are in tune with yoga teachings!
Yoga is a way of life. It is how I live and breathe. It is how I move and relax. It is how I act and react to the people and world around me.