Yoga isn't about relaxation
So, yoga isn’t about relaxation—at least not completely.
It’s also not about escaping, or getting fit, or being blissed out.
What is it about really?
Yoga is about living your life.
That means that you could never step foot into a yoga studio and still be a yogi.
Permission granted to never sweat through another vinyasa flow, or rush from work to the community center before class begins. Permission granted to never have to pay a yoga teacher or take another yoga workshop.
Except most of us need to if we are going to really practice yoga.
Maybe you’ve heard before that asanas (or, the poses) of yoga are the first step into what yoga really is. That’s true because yoga gets us into our body, and most of us (I’m so guilty) live in our heads most the time.
Yet, yoga isn’t about relaxing.
Then again, sometimes it is about just that.
Some of the most powerful yoga classes, yoga teachers or practices I have ever been involved in/with have been less about the poses and more about the feelings I walk away with. I’m surprised with how long/or how short my yoga lasts from my mat and cushion and into my day.
Sure on the mat I feel blissed out, detoxed and strong but is that translating into my real life? Am I being kinder to people? Am I telling the truth more? Am I growing as a person? Am I living into my dreams?
For a long time, the answer was “not really.”
I’ve had fourteen years of yoga experience and in the last year my yoga started showing up in my life in a BIG way. It showed up in a way that I didn’t even realize was missing. That was because of Tantra.
Now, Tantric yoga has a stigma associated with it—it’s all about sex. In reality, though, Tantric yoga is all about energy.
It’s like this: Imagine that you have a paper cup full of water. The cup is your body (physical, emotional, intellectual, subtle, or energetic). The water is your energy. Every time you leave the present moment, every time you self-destruct, every time you sabotage your dreams—a hole is punctured into the cup.
This means most of us have NO water in our cup or, at the very least, that it doesn’t stay long enough to quench our thirst.
Tantra yoga gives practitioners tools to plug those holes and drink from the well of our truth, our powers and our wisdom.
It’s kind of magical that way.
Let me give you an example.
When I started my Tantric study with Kelly Golden of Vira Bhava Yoga, I was hesitant. As a longtime Ashtanga practitioner (a form of yoga that helped me move through addiction and trauma), I enrolled in Kelly’s advanced teacher training because I knew she would hold space for me to learn more about yoga’s origins and philosophy. However, what happened instead is that I went deeply into a healing and self-inquiry process that I will never return from (thankfully).
I am a pretty inspired, creative and motivated person.
However, during my intense study into Tantra (and myself), I realized that I was completely burnt out. Sure, I was leading a holistic healing practice, mothering a four-year-old, in gestation with another babe, being a partner, working with the most clients I had ever worked with at one time, writing an e-book, and writing daily and weekly communications about healing and wellness, BUT I was uninspired most the time I was doing it.
Tantra taught me that it’s not WHAT you are doing but HOW you are doing it.
Doing a lot is in my nature. Yet, HOW I showed up in my life burned me out. I think this was, in part, because I was also "on the go" while on my yoga mat. I was practicing a high-paced, strength-based and advanced pose asana practice. I was moving quickly through transitions and staying on the surface of what was possible for my body (energetically, emotionally, physically, and intellectually).
Through Tantra, I started slowing down. My practice became yoga nidra, where you literally do not move at all. I started meditating longer, breathing deeper and harnessing a plethora of creative energy back into my well.
I was plugging in the holes of my cup and I started thriving because of it.
Kelly says: “Yoga can become addictive.” It’s true. We easily fall into routines and habits. It’s easier to keep things as they are than it is to change things up.
But that keeps us small. That keeps us fragmented. That keeps our transformation/realizations/insights and inspirations on our mat, not in our life.
I am doing the same amount as usual, but I am restored, grounded and continually filling my well with practices that support my life rather than take me out of it.
What is your “yoga” doing for you?
Connect with Jardana at www.jardanapeacock.com.