“Always we hope someone else has the answer, some other place will be better, some other time it will all turn out. This is it; no one else has the answer, no other place will be better, and it has already turned out. At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.” –Lao-Tzu
Even if you don’t consider yourself a spiritual person, your yoga practice can become a defined environment, a space, which you return to again and again to find comfort and to connect with yourself. Whether you are practicing at home or in a studio, the ritual of rolling out your mat and settling into a practice that tends to your own needs can bring comfort and strength, and provide a safe space to grow and to be, no matter where your practice takes place or where you are in your journey. Tending to your body is a sacred, intuitive practice, and yoga provides the tools and forms to do this safely and effectively. Yoga can also be a place to explore the inner realm in a specific physical way, letting body and mind mirror each other, and creating an environment for growth that might be difficult to access in other ways.
Many people find that during their practice, the release of physical tightness and blockages can offer a way to release emotional tightness and blockages as well. Heart openers or hip openers especially can sometimes trigger a flood of emotions. To have this experience in the context of a yoga practice, whether at home or in a studio, can feel very healing and supportive, and more so because of the feeling of sanctuary that yoga practice creates. Over time, returning to consistent practice, you begin to notice changes—maybe your hamstrings become more flexible, or you find that you no longer feel quite so fidgety and distracted during meditative practices, or you just experience an overall sense of improved internal and external wellbeing.
As you grow your practice, you experience new sensations, learning to trust your own body and also learning its limits. Knowing when and how to make modifications to your practice to make it better for your own unique body can be just as empowering as the moments when you discover improved flexibility or balance. The consistency of yoga practice creates a reliable space to which we return over and over again, observing growth happening in this familiar space. This “space” is not a physical one—yoga can happen anywhere. Instead, the intentions we have for ourselves and the active practice of doing yoga are what create the boundaries of this space, an inner sanctuary that is different for everyone.
Written by Grace Martin
Grace Martin is a library assistant and aspiring writer who loves food, fiber arts, and reading any book she can get her hands on. She was drawn to yoga in early 2017, and enjoys incorporating aspects of meditation and ritual into her practice. She has lived in Keene for the past two years.