“Practice real yoga since the beginning.” – Petri Räisänen

Do this, do that! Breathe here, breathe there! Fancy yoga pants, not fancy pants! This yoga mat, that yoga mat. Expensive yoga mat, cheap yoga mat. Bend here, bend there. Knee at 90 degrees, knee over the ankle. OMG! Backbend. Forward bend. etc etc etc

We are over complicating things, people, and we lose the essence, the purpose, the goal of yoga.

I wonder how come nowadays yoga in the West is more about admiring yourself in the mirror at the gym and wearing the nice yoga pants than what yoga really is about which is to know yourself better. Know the SELF…

We live in such a superficial society… Saying things that we don’t feel or we don’t think, just to say the words that please the others ears. Being fancy and buying expensive make-up brands, than choosing to be healthy. Caring more about the body and how we look, than taking care of our overall health which is also “emotional, mental, conscious, conscientious” (B.K.S Iyengar).

The  practice of yoga is unfolding yourself, but are you willing to accept yourself or are you pretending you don’t see it and just continue doing what you are doing even though you don’t like it?

I meet more and more people that say they are interested in learning more about yoga philosophy, but I’d rather say it’s not about learning, people, it’s about implementing, living a more graceful life. Letting go of fear and live a beautiful life. You cannot learn yoga, you can only live it not only on the mat, but most importantly outside of the mat.

Let go of the obsession of doing the perfect pose and just treat yourself and other people with more kindness. You are not the center of the universe. The world doesn’t spin around you. Look at others and see that they are also having a hard time. We all struggle with something. Just because you don’t know it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. Be kind and kindness will be shown to you as well.

But what am I talking about? Yoga is just fancy poses and crazy stretches, breathing exercises and meditation are boring and Savasana is about thinking about dinner or snoring. Yoga is just that, right?

Well…guess what? No, yoga is not that. Vira what? asana this, Pada what asana what? Yoga is not about thinking about how much you hate your boss while holding your plank. Yoga is not about stressing your breath and squeezing your face when something gets hard. Yoga is your attitude when things get hard. Yoga is strong and soft, not hard and flexible. It reveals who you are and it tests whether you accept it and work with it or you let your ego grow bigger that the universe and go against you.

Open your mind. Open your heart.  There are many bad things in this world, choose to see the best in each and every person and they will open up. One cannot answer love with hate. Sooner or later, they will open up. Just do your practice. Meditate before saying something that you might regret afterwards.

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Lunch break during my Advanced Teacher Training at Samyak ashram, Mysore, India this March.

©Unfold Your Mat 2016