the ancient symbol of harmony reminds us that life is a balancing act and most fulfilling when we learn to embrace its dualities:
the ups & downs
good times & bad
joys & challenges
"We don't use the body to get into a pose. We use the pose to get into the body."
Why I find a yoga practice to be so important, a brief overview...
So often I hear "I can't do yoga I'm not flexible." What most people don't understand is that yoga is not about flexibility, it's not even fully about a physical practice. If you asked me what yoga is about I'd tell you it is about living a lifestyle in which you connect with yourself: mind, body, and breath. With finding this connection you find peace within yourself and your surroundings including both nature and all living beings.
With this mind, body, and breath connection we can learn so much about our physical bodies functions as well as learn how to steady the mind in most any situation. Being more in-tune with our physical body can help us to be healthier and more aware when something isn't quite right.
To me the most important tool used in yoga is our breath. Having a slow and steady breath aids us in our physical yoga practice with being able to find comfort in what may not be the most comfortable asana (pose) as well as find more depth in some poses. Learning about your breath and different breathing techniques also helps us mentally in our day to day lives. This thought is summed up in one of my favorite quotes by the Hatha Yoga Pradpika, "when the breath wanders, the mind also is unsteady. But when the breath is calmed the mind too will be still, and the yogi will achieves long life. Therefore, one should learn to control the breath."
Living constant on the go lifestyles take a toll on us mentally and physically, by developing a yoga practice we remember to slow down a little, take time for ourselves, and to take in the beauty of all that is around us.