Most recently, I have had a discussion regarding Yoga and Flexibility more often than I have had in the five years now that I have been teaching yoga. The number one reason that I always hear from people who are scared of doing yoga is “I can’t do yoga because I am NOT flexible” although the reality of it is that flexibility is earned once yoga is performed regularly. Flexibility can be limited due to injuries, bone structure, etc. but you can develop more flexibility with practice. So, since this conversation has come up more recently lately, I was prompted to write this article. Spirit came to me and told me to write up the benefits of Yoga and compare them to the American Grading System to assist individuals with the goals of YOGA. I have told many people numerous times that Flexibility is the F word of Yoga. However, it does not convince them to try it.
So without further ado, let me list what grades you EARN the more you DO YOGA. In the American Grading system, when you do even try to do the assignment or show up, you get an F for failure; D for inadequate attempt at the assignment; C for average attempt; B for more proficient attempt and A for the Excellent execution of the assignment and perfect presentation. Well in yoga, IT IS THE OPPOSITE. There are no negatives only positive changes and the “lower the grade” the better you are. I am only saying lower grade in comparison to the American Grading System. However, in the Yoga Grading System the more you practice, you elevate on the Yoga ladder and benefits increase.
A is for Awareness which is the first thing you earn coming into a Yogic practice. You are aware you need a different way of life; something to remove your stress; practice flexibility; want to add an element of meditation. Aware that yoga is a little harder than you realize or yoga is hard but “makes me feel great especially after SAVASANA.” Whatever it is that brought you into the Yoga Room, it begins your journey to awareness.
B is for Balance and Body Awareness. As you begin your yogic journey, each movement helps you to gain more balance. Balance physically as you strengthen your muscles to help stand in Tree Pose and Dancer. Balance mentally as you begin to learn to release stress and check in to your emotions. Learn how to balance your practice around your lifestyle. Balance spiritually as you begin to connect to something bigger than you. Body awareness as you begin to RESPECT your body as it is at that very MOMENT in TIME. With every movement, you begin to feel your body change with every pose and every breath. Body awareness as you begin to realize yoga isn’t just about physical body but about your mental and emotional body.
C is for Consciousness and Connection. There is a BIG difference in being AWARE and BEING CONSCIOUS. Aware means the things you see with your FIVE SENSES: THE FACTS. All of those things you find in the material world. Consciousness is something you deal with the UNSEEN: the METAPHYSICAL, THE UNEXPLAINABLE. The Yoga Sutras and the philosophy of Yoga works in this realm. The more you practice Yoga you will begin to know about the CHAKRAS, ENERGIES, AURAS, etc. You begin to study more about spirituality. It may even strengthen your FAITH in your chosen religion. However, there is no denying that you will feel a CONNECTION to the WORLD, the UNIVERSE, whatever you call your HIGHER POWER and the energies around you, through you and IN you. More reading: Awareness vs Consciousness
D is for DHARMA and DISCERNMENT. In this definition, Dharma will be taken from the Hindu religion definition for the moral and religious law that rule the our conduct that leads us to KARMA which is SANSKRIT for ACTION and/or the results of our ACTIONS good or bad. Definition of Dharma. In Yoga, one learns about listening to their body, their energies and the energies around them something similar to what is taught in Quantum Physics. With each practice, you get deeper and deeper in your connection with yourself, your emotions, and your connection with the Universe. You get to learn that you are one with the great SCHEME of things. You want to learn more about YOUR LIFE PURPOSE. The law of dharma and your purpose. In a Spiritual sense for those who believe in an ALMIGHTY power, we develop Discernment in which we hear the voice of God or of the Holy Spirit or whatever Divinity you believe in. You submit your actions, your thoughts, your energy to learn more about the Divinity Will for you to move along in this Universe in our Physical form. You begin to realize you are a ENERGY, SPIRITUAL BEING in a physical shell to experience the Human Existence and to co-create a world of love for others and yourself. Here are two articles for additional reading: Discernment Holy Spirit and Making Inspired Decisions
E is Exhalation. According to the Yoga Sutras, Exhalation is the most important aspect of Pranayama (breathing exercises) in Yoga. Why? Exhalation in Yoga is usually intentional versus when we are conscious and not performing any physical exertion. Intentional Exhalation allows the body to relax, causing stress to release, lower blood pressure, and strengthen chest and abdomen muscles. The Importance of Exhalation
Finally, but not, least is F for Flexibility. The More you practice Yoga, the more bendy you get. Don’t believe me! Here is the article to prove it: What Science can teach about Flexibility?
So now that you learned what you can EARN with yoga, why not try it today? Besides, you can get all of this and be nude at the same time? WOW. Like I say, without the clothes, I can get even deeper into my Yoga Practice and the poses specifically. WHEW! Well, that is my grading system. I hope you find this informative and lead you into beginning your Yogic Journey.