As an instructor of Iyengar Yoga, I am often asked how I know whether I am practicing yoga physically, mentally or spiritually?
My answer references the teachings of yoga master, B.K.S. Iyengar and his belief that the practice of yoga evolves from the body to the spiritual. This is true for me in my own yoga experience.
Early on, I learned to move my body in many asana (postures) – developing an ease of movement to maintain good health and become stronger physically and mentally. My intrigue grew. I became aware that practicing the poses brought a quieting to my mind.
For me, yoga practice was a time away from the unending tasks of daily living and the constant busyness of the intellect. The more I was on my mat, the more I recognized a meditation was occurring. I focused on various poses in search of the unobstructed flow of energy in each pose. By adjusting, aligning, and reflecting, I gained new insights and perspective.
I learned asana practice is not just about the body – it is a profound experience that enables me to understand and know more about who I am.
My purpose for doing yoga evolved from maintaining physical and mental health to approaching my practice with a feeling of reverence. There is awareness of a depth to life that is beyond words – to know it is to experience it.
For me, this is the spiritual.
Marlene L Miller is a senior certified Iyengar Yoga instructor who has been practicing and teaching Yoga for 35 years at the Iyengar Yoga Centre of Victoria and on the Saanich Peninsula where she is currently president of the Peninsula Yoga Centre Society. penyoga.ca