Beyond the Pose

“As I said earlier, yoga has been used, to a great extent, only for self-improvement—to make our bodies feel better, to be healthier, to feel less stress. What we’ve lost is the idea that when I think of another and extend compassion to another, I improve myself. When I help another person, we become literally inseparable. This is what tantra teaches, and it is the key to living in a more expansive way that benefits ourselves and the larger world.” – Rod Stryker, Parayoga

Have you wondered if your yoga practice is more expansive than your 24″ x 68″ yoga mat? More than a stress reliever, detox program, or booty lifter?

If so, yay! Woohoo! Thank you!

Don’t get me wrong, I love asana — posture practice. And I love that there are so many different styles of physical practice … you may not get benefit from the Hatha class I teach today, so here’s a Vinyasa class for you … or a Yin practice. Circle back to Hatha when you’re ready ;).

That said, I continue to be amazed that “yoga” is so much more. The word “hatha,” for example, joins the letters “ha” & “tha,” & represents the two controlling forces of life. Sandra Anderson of The Himalayan Institute tells us,

Yoked together in one word, these letters illustrate the practice of hatha yoga—the joining of the forces of light and darkness, the resolution of disharmony and opposition, and the transcendence of dualities of all kinds. It is this state of balance and equanimity that supports and strengthens us, and which nurtures the unfolding of a deeper level of awareness and spiritual wisdom.

Do I know what all this means yet? Nope. I continue to learn, practice, witness, STRUGGLE … on & off my mat. I hope you’ll join me.

Let’s share how we practice Hatha yoga off of our mats & in the world. What have you been up to lately? An extension of compassion that changed you? A helping of another that transformed your view or way of being? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

At Love Yoga, we’re offering “Philanthropy Thursdays” — donation classes that extend support to local organizations doing great work in our community. Last month, our extended yoga family raised $200 to support programs at Canine Partners for Life … I was SO HUMBLED that folks who couldn’t make it to a physical practice said, “Here, I’d like to donate anyway.” Yoga is beyond the pose.

This month, Nickers ‘N Neighs Therapeutic Riding Center will benefit from your practice on & off the mat. Donations of any amount make a difference! Bring a friend — widen the circle!

In addition, I’ll be offering Sunday workshops on practices (physical, breathing & cleansing) to support you in sleep, joint health, & your general daily round. Called “Beyond the Pose,” these workshops cater to those of us wanting to delve deeper into our practice & transformation. Check out Love Yoga for more information & registration.

Whether you “practice yoga” (i.e. on a mat) or not … you practice yoga (!) through your relationship to your Self, to your world & to those around you. Extend compassion, love, light — transform your Self. This is our practice.

I hope to hear how you practice in the comments below =).

Published by ericaengel42

I practice & share Hatha Yoga for a simple reason -- it works. Hatha Yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is a holistic system of philosophy & practices passed down through an unbroken 5,000 year lineage of Himalayan sages. What Hatha Yoga is not: trendy, bendy or one-&-done. What Hatha Yoga is: a systematic approach to uncovering the real, authentic YOU in body, mind & spirit. Hatha Yoga cultivates well-being, stability, clarity & ease in modern life through traditional, time-tested practices. I also recognize both our shared humanity & our differing privileges & barriers -- I am a cis-gendered white female with a graduate degree, who has dealt with family trauma & an eating disorder. My goals in my own practice include to cultivate awareness of my own privileges & social conditioning, unlearn & re-learn in order to be mindful & take compassionate action toward a more beautiful, just & peaceful world for ALL humans, creatures & our Earth. I'm making mistakes daily, & hopeful that I'm falling forward toward these goals & vision. I hope we can walk our paths & support each other along the way.

2 thoughts on “Beyond the Pose

  1. Hello Erica. Miss you greatly and thanks for this post. I have some wonderful news about ministry in new Mexico this winter and also a lot of attack against my physical body (I am sure as an attempt to keep me from going). Please pray for me and I hope to be well soon and can join you on the mat and othrwise. Love you for being you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy! So good to hear from you … I look forward to hearing about New Mexico … & also send you good, healthy vibes for your physical body. I look forward to connecting soon. Cheers, E


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