10 years or so ago I started practicing Yoga in Costa Rica and was quite intense for maybe a year. It was mostly physical at the time though I did really work and concentrate on connecting my breath to the movements and keeping my mind focused while engaging in practice. But I didn’t really get it on a deeper level and over time I practiced less and less until I wasn’t practicing at all anymore. I have said many times over the years that I was going to get to a class and start practicing again. But I guess I was just never led or motivated to make it happen.
Recently, I have been blessed with the opportunity to be able to practice with a great teacher 3-5 times per week, 2 great teachers actually. I do some internet marketing/ social media work for School of the World here in Playa Jaco, Costa Rica which allows me to drop in on the classes they offer at the school. Both of the teachers that I have worked with so far offer a challenging class but make sure that postures are done correctly and that students don’t do anything that is going to cause injury or pain. I can highly recommend any of their programs which include Spanish, surfing, yoga and digital photography. I hope to be doing some special retreats with them in the future.
I have been to 6 classes over the last 2 weeks and I have definitely felt it. Today is Friday of week 3 and it looks like I will make it 3 times again this week also. I bought a yoga mat so I could practice at the house on days I didn’t go to a class and think that pretty much was a symbol of commitment from me that I am serious about practice this time. It is for a different purpose at this time in my life. And the purpose is the focus. It is basically the same purpose as I have with meditation. No thought, only being in the present moment. The yoga is just a moving meditation.
Things happen when the time is right I guess. Although I push my body as hard as I can during class my real purpose this time around is inner. It is really just another aspect of my meditation practice. There is no way to describe the experience of connecting the breath with the asanas and having the mind totally focused on the present, the practice. Each class I find myself able to connect and be totally in the practice for just a little bit longer.
The great thing about yoga is that it can be different things to different people. Some just want the physical aspect, and that’s fine. It is great exercise for the body. It helps circulation, promotes flexibility and strength, and just might be the best exercise there is for promoting sustained health as we get older. Many of the maladies of the elderly come from bad circulation and lack of flexibility. Not all yoga is gentle stretching as some might think. Ashtanga yoga for example is quite strenuous and with all the body weight bearing postures it is quite beneficial for building strength.
I will continue to write about yoga as my practice progresses. As the yoga comes back to me I will eventually practice on my own more. I used to like to do this and just linger in poses for whatever period of time I felt necessary to loosen up particular areas. In a way I was my own chiropractor. I will offer some advice here. If you are looking to start a yoga practice, look around carefully and find a teacher you really like. That can make all the difference in the world. Challenge yourself but don’t compete. Do your best and you will progress. It’s a beautiful day and I can’t wait to do yoga in Costa Rica again this afternoon. Namaste.