Focus of the Month October
written by Marlene Schmitt
Today three years ago we opened the doors to our studio - Yoga on the Move The Shala. WOW - These 3 years have been such a ride: an intense, light-speed renovation, a big opening weekend with all of our teachers and friends, a very sudden and long lockdown of 9 months in which we had to stay close, endless hours in Zoom with our supportive online community, a slow post-covid period to today where the studio is a home and heaven so many that love and practice yoga. We surely couldn’t imagine a life without our homebase anymore.
When I look back on the last years, I recognize the ups-and-downs, challenges and moments of joy life threw at me, yet at all times it was the yoga practice that kept my back. The yoga practice guided me through this ride, it taught me my boundaries, and helped me expand beyond limiting beliefs.
Yoga is a path, not linear but ever expanding. Once you commit to it, it starts to unfold in unexpected ways. Let's embark on this journey together, exploring what Yoga Marga truly means and how it can infuse every corner of our lives, both on and off the yoga mat.
Unraveling Yoga Marga: The Path of Union
Yoga Marga, translated from Sanskrit (योगमार्ग yogamārga), means the "path of union." Yoga meaning "union" and Marga referring to the path to spiritual realization, salvation or enlightenment.
It is an ancient spiritual tradition that encapsulates a holistic approach to life, encompassing physical postures (asanas), breath control (pranayama), meditation (dhyana), ethical principles (yamas and niyamas), and a deep understanding of the self. Through this multifaceted practice, one seeks to harmonize the body, mind, and spirit, ultimately leading to a profound sense of unity with the universe.
A Personal path
When I first stepped onto a yoga mat, I didn’t even know that Yoga was more than just exercise, yet it sparked something inside of me that made me stick to the practice. Over the years my mat became a space where I could peel away the layers of the external world and dive deep into the landscape of my own body, mind and heart.
And this is the beauty of the path, you walk it one step at a time, without knowing where it leads you, but you know and trust that if you stay present and connected to the practice it will guide you where you need to go.
The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can't be organized or regulated. It isn't true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth. - Ram Dass
Practicing Yoga Marga: Beyond the Mat
Yoga Marga is not confined to the boundaries of a yoga studio; it has the ability to permeate every facet of our life. Here are practical ways to incorporate this transformative path into your daily life:
Morning Reflections: Begin your day with a moment of introspection. Connect with your breath, set an intention, and carry that mindfulness with you throughout the day.
Mindful Movement: Engage your body with purpose. Whether through a full yoga practice or simple stretches, let each movement be a conscious dialogue between body and soul.
Breath as Anchor: Take moments to focus on your breath. This simple act can ground you in the present, offering clarity and calm amidst the noise of the world.
Meditation Breaks: Incorporate short meditation breaks into your day. Even a few minutes of stillness can provide a sanctuary of peace amidst the hustle and bustle.
Embody the Yamas and Niyamas: Practice compassion, truthfulness, contentment, and self-discipline in your interactions. Let these principles guide your actions and choices.
Nature Connection: Immerse yourself in nature. Feel the earth beneath your feet, breathe in the fresh air, and recognize your place in the intricate web of life.
Cultivate Gratitude: Foster an attitude of gratitude. Acknowledge the blessings, both big and small, that grace your life.
Self-Reflection: Take moments to introspect, to explore the depths of your being. Allow life's lessons to be your teachers.
Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees. - B.K.S. Iyengar
Yoga Marga is not a destination; it's a journey, an ever-evolving narrative of self-discovery and unity. As you navigate this path, remember that every step, no matter how small, takes you into the right direction.
Instead of focusing on the goal, let’s focus on the direction, and each step along the way. Yoga invites you to explore, discover, and embrace the fullness of your own existence. I can’t wait to continue this journey of Yoga together, towards a more harmonious and connected way of being - inside and outside.