When a student asked one of my teachers if he thought her yoga practice was improving, he replied, “Ask your loved ones.”  The true signs of an advancing yogi are not just a stronger and more supple body.  Yoga practiced regularly and properly should create a calmer, more caring, centered, tolerant, patient, and loving individual, and who would know better if you are improving in these areas than your loved ones?

It is easy to get caught up with solely the physical aspects of our practice, but then we risk forgetting the deeper gifts that yoga has to offer.  We are more than just a collection of bones and muscles.  A bendy back, a perfectly executed arm balance, and a flat stomach may be visually appealing but yoga is not a performance nor is it a “spectator sport.”  It doesn’t matter how your practice looks; it matters how it feels.  How can you move in a way that allows the most possible freedom and harmony within your whole being?

As a yoga teacher, I think of the words and cues I say as “suggestions,” not as the absolute and only way.  When it comes down to it, I can’t feel what you feel and I can’t know your inner experience in each pose.  That is why my students will often hear me say, “Listen inside.  There is more than one right answer.”

Yoga teaches us to get out of the habit of waiting for someone else to tell us what to do and how to do it.  Our practice teaches us to turn inward and trust our inner voice.  Yoga is an internal experience, a process of peeling back the layers of ego to uncover our True Selves.

Next time you find yourself in a yoga class comparing your poses and your body to the other people in the room, stop.  Close your eyes.  Focus inside.  Feel your breath moving you. How does it feel to be alive in this body today?  Be with whatever the experience is for you right now.  Let your body be breathed, be moved, intuitively… There is more than one right answer.

“People follow different paths, straight or crooked, according to their temperament, depending on which they consider best, or more appropriate – and all reach You, just as all rivers enter the ocean.” ~ The Upanishads   

Playlist #2: Mellow Mix 

 Gymnopedies - Claude Debussy 

 Bach Cello Concerto - Yo-Yo Ma 

 Together - Wade Imre Morisette 

 Sunrise - Norah Jones 

 One Flight Down - Norah Jones 

 In My Place - Coldplay 

 In the Lord’s Arms - Ben Harper 

 Free Fallin’ (Live) - John Mayer 

 Wild Horses - Rolling Stones 

 Toes - Norah Jones 

 Stop This Train - John Mayer 

 Gravity - John Mayer 

 Come Away With Me - Norah Jones 

 Beloved One - Ben Harper 

 Imagine - John Lennon 

 Sri Ram Jai Ram - Krishna Das 

 Such Great Heights - Iron & Wine