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Yoga & The Shape of Your Life

"Yoga is not always about flexibility, strength, or moving further or deeper into any posture. Yoga is a way of living that encourages moderation, mindful movement, and thinking." ~Dr. Ginger Garner

This morning on social media, I saw a post from a yoga teacher I follow, Christina Sell. She shared a quote from Aadil Palkhivala, “True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life”. She was quick to point out that the phrase, “true yoga” is a complex conversation, as it’s not for us to decide for anyone else what their yoga practice looks like. What serves and guides me to a deeper connection with myself and others may not be the same for you.

But in knowing that yoga is a practice of union for the mind, body, and spirit, a practice of integrated wholeness, I think we can all agree that yoga goes far beyond how it affects the physical shape of our body. It’s important then to consider the amount of time and effort we give moving into various shapes of yoga asana, equally as important as the time we give to the shape of our life. If there is no parallel between what and how we practice yoga on the mat to how we live our daily life, what then is the point of any practice at all?

Over the years as a yoga student and teacher, I’ve had many conversations with people who think they are unable to practice yoga because they are not strong or flexible enough. They see an image of a yoga posture and exclaim it’s not possible for them. What they don’t understand is that yoga is simply being mindful and present with the current state or shape of your body and the awareness of how you move within that shape. Yoga is and always will be a way to practice mindful movement that supports your individual needs, leading to the graceful expression of your own unique and beautiful shapes.

There is no set shape for any posture, but rather within the practice of each pose, an outline of directional movements that guides us to creating structural stability. This stability serves as the foundation to explore and expand the physical freedom in our body and mind, creating the shape that is right for us at that moment. Once we learn about how we approach ourselves on the mat, it can spill over into how we approach and shape our lives. So many questions can be answered simply by observing ourselves when in these various shapes.

Do I judge myself?

Am I curious and open to learning?

Am I compassionate and patient?

Do I force my body out of frustration?

Do I compare myself with others?

Do I give up when faced with a challenge? And so on.

It's when we are aware of our nature towards ourselves in a physical sense, that we can extend that awareness to the overall shape of our lives. We can ask, are we showing up in life the same way we show up in our practice? Why or why not?

Sometimes we get stuck in thinking that life happens to us, forgetting that we happen to life. In everything we do, we choose how to do it. Even in circumstances that we don’t choose, we still choose how to respond. In the context of yoga, we can learn so much about how to be more conscious of these choices and how to refine them. Then, we can use this refinement and the blessings of our unique and divinely granted gifts to consciously shape our life most brilliantly and lovingly. Once that happens, we’ve become an active contribution to the shape of the world we share in together. 

With love and light,



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