Yoga is about bending your body


Do you ever feel misunderstood, not fit in, but somehow wanting some people to listen more and talk less? Accept. Not judge. Just listen.

It did and does happen to me sometimes.

Lately I’ve been reflecting a lot on my future as a yoga teacher.

When I decided not to go back to an office job it wasn’t for becoming a sports instructor. I am not a fitness instructor and I have no wish in becoming one. While it can be very nice to be one,  it is not what I dream for me and Unfold Your Mat to become. When I decided to start a new chapter in my life, it was because I believe in a higher purpose each of one has in this life. I believe in the gifts each one of us possesses. It can be a real waste of our gifts, not to use them to make this world somehow…a better place. I dreamed about creating a space for people to learn and grow. If it’s one thing I know how to do best that is to continue to learn.

I don’t know if it’s one purpose or more we have on this earth (not that enlightened yet, hopefully will be some day when all my hair will be grey and my face full of wrinkles), but I do believe it is my duty, our duty to strive to do our best in order to fulfill our potential.

My dream for Unfold Your Mat is to be a place where people share, practice together and feel at home to be who they are yet striving to become better every single day. I wish that our practice space is a place where you don’t bring your ego to compete with the neighbor sitting on the mat next to you, but a place where you are brave enough to see yourself just the way you are, to accept yourself, stop blaming others for the actions you do not take, learn and grow.

Two days ago, I remembered what one of my students once told me. It was one of those times when I started the class with a little philosophical discussion. I love to do that because I feel that’s the only opportunity to transmit more about the essence of the yoga practice. After class she thanked me and told me “You are not only teaching yoga, but also motivate and encourage people to grow.”

Many people start practicing yoga because the asanas feel so good in their body. Like others, that was also my main motivation to get on my mat. Accustomed to our life in chairs, on a fluffy yet extremely unhealthy couch, rounded shoulders and back, poor posture or a very stiff body from years of tough sports, unconscious eating, starring at a shinny screen from morning till evening, letting ourselves absorbed about repetitive negative mind patterns etc After all of this, asanas feel so damn good. Most people feel relaxed, calm and peaceful after a class. They might become more aware about their thoughts, actions, reactions. With regular practice they start to have a more straight spine, more open and flexible hips, better posture. Maybe more open and flexible minds as well. Asanas become more and more comfortable and effortless.

And they continue until one day when they either become lazy and find a new hobby even though they do enjoy yoga, but start finding excuses not to do their practice OR they start getting curious about what yoga beyond a bendy pretzel like body is.  And if they decide to embark in to that journey, a whole new world of opportunities opens up.

Yoga beyond bending is about a strong mind, willpower, determination despite the good and the bad days, constant effort without attachment and expectations towards the final result. Yoga beyond bending is about a calmer, more peaceful and conscious You.

There is nothing bad with having a more flexible and stronger body. It is in fact very nice and healthy for us to practice asanas. But asanas are a tool to unfold our personalities, a mirror to see ourselves better.

So no, I am not teaching yoga asanas and also coaching people. The two of them are just yoga. I am just simply trying to teach YOGA the best I can at this stage in my life.. It’s all yoga, the bending part and the motivational part. My aspiration is not about feeding people’s ego to bend beyond limits and merely instruct some poses, but somehow through my little experience inspire them to search more, do more, learn more. I am trying…and hopefully you guys also see the struggles, find it helpful and appreciate it.

That’s how I see Unfold Your Mat.

And I am willing to continue teaching people to be strong enough to allow themselves to be vulnerable on a yoga mat, in a room full of strangers. I wish for you, dear students, to have the willpower to continue your practice despite the laziness that you might feel sometimes, despite the bad weather outside, despite finding endless excuses not to get on your mat sometimes.

Real strength doesn’t mean you are naturally and effortlessly strong without putting work into it. Real strength is about putting effort, consistently do your homework. Wanting to quit and fall so many times, but learn how to lift up, pick the broken pieces, accept yourself, not judge yourself. And despite how many times you want to quit, decide not to. And rise above your temporary limitations.

The journey of yoga is not for the weak minds. But it’s definitely worth the pain.

“Yoga is an internal practice. The rest is just circus.” Sri K. Pattabhi Jois

© Unfold Your Mat 2016

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