Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! I had a fabulous Christmas with family and friends and will share more in separate posts.
In less than a week, 2012 will have arrived. Many people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, start exercising, etc. Today’s guest post is by my fun and fabulous friend, Laura Bower. Read below to see how yoga has enriched her life. Want to read more from Laura? Follow her on Twitter @LauraBower.
Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim. The better you practice, the brighter the flame – B.K.S. Iyengar
I started practicing yoga when my knees gave out from running. That was ten years ago. I’ve been hooked ever since. Power yoga is a lot like running – it’s my moving meditation. Just as I learned to synchronize breath and movement running hills in cross country practice 30 years ago, I align my yoga postures with inhales and exhales through a sequence of movements to build strength and generate energy or prana.
Yoga has saved my life numerous times. When I was going through a painful divorce several years ago, I processed it all on my mat, sweating out toxic emotions as I built confidence and healed my broken spirit. And now as I experience yet another life transition, I pour my heart and soul into every asana and vinyasa.
“The yoga mat is a good place to turn when talk therapy and antidepressants aren’t enough, said Amy Weintraub. Wise words, indeed.
It’s not all about managing physical and emotional pain. Yoga can be a celebration too. It’s life affirming and empowering to learn and master poses that were once beyond your grasp. Your first headstand, the first time you clasp your hands behind your back in cow-faced pose or press up into sidecrow – these small triumphs become metaphors for the larger challenges of life.
Now I’m teaching a class at a wonderful, welcoming studio called Aravinda, in the heart of Bearden. Ambiance is everything when you’re trying to focus your thoughts and calm your mind. The warm hardwood floors and sunny windows, the clean, quiet space in which to practice are such a blessing. I’ve done yoga at several studios in Knoxville as well as by the ocean in Mexico and in the Guatemalan Highlands. I’ve studied under a dozen teachers. Each venue has its own vibe, just as each instructor has his own style.
My style is based on the Ashtanga Vinyasa system of Hatha yoga. Power Flow is a vigorous workout with emphasis on core strength, breath control and flexibility. It’s proof positive that yoga can be serious exercise. My classes are fast-paced, high-energy workouts for all levels. I offer modifications to intensify the level of difficulty and also to make the practice accessible to less experienced practitioners.
According to Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, “Yoga is possible for anybody who really wants it. Yoga is universal.” It’s more than exercise; it’s a lifestyle, an exuberant embrace of the universe. Through yoga, you can tap into an inner resilience deep beneath the surface and bring it to everything you do.
And yes, after all these years, yoga is still my moving meditation.
- Laura Bower
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