Do What You Want – #DWUW

It doesn’t take long for anyone who meets me to realize the things I’m most passionate about: music and yoga. The former has been a part of my professional life since I was nineteen, and the latter was
always my little gift to myself. Music is the thing I’ve made – with varying amounts of success, depending on the year – into my profession. Yoga was like my power cape that I brought with me everywhere. I put that cape on, and man, I can get through anything.

Over the years, I’ve had a handful of friends who have known me for varying amounts of time come to a very similar realization that they felt compelled to tell me: This yoga stuff is incredible. In fact I remember my friend Cameron once saying to me, “Damn I feel good. Its like some ancient wisdom.”

After twelve years of practice, in four different US markets, with dozens of teachers and a handful of styles under my belt, I still feel like a beginner in the vast world that is yoga, but that very word –

V A S T

– is the reason I think yoga is so effective for so many people. “Yoga” is now common enough in our culture that it has a common association: flexible, healthy women in attractive active wear. In fact, just the other day I invited a friend to come to my class and he said he was worried that, as a young adult male, he’d be distracted by all the beautiful women in the class. This goes to show you what our cultural perception is of “yoga.”

But this is exactly why I chose to add the hat of “teacher” to my yoga rack. Part of yoga’s beauty – and its incredible and never-ending challenge – is that it can be an activity of almost any nature you need: yes it is a workout….  but also

It is muscular strength training, if you choose to engage your muscles in that way…

It is relaxation, if you bring focus to where your body is tight and have the patience to use your breath and invite the muscles and facia (the fibers that bind your muscles to your bones and organs) to release…

It is emotional healing, if you allow yourself to truly feel what you are feeling in that moment, no matter how beautiful or ugly your feelings may be…

It is allowing empty time for your brain, if you make efforts to try and think of nothing, and just breathe, and know that when your mind wanders back to active thinking, you are patient and bring it back to nothing…

It is a lesson in work and perseverance, if you use your breath, your deep down strength, and your belief that you can conquer this pose!…

It is physical healing, if you are patient with the limitations of your body on that day, and know with time, repetition, and attention, you can heal your ailments…

So yoga is whatever you want it to be. It’s learning yourself, your habits, your body, your mind behavior, your sticking points, your stuff that makes you YOU. That’s why you hear so often in yoga classes and yoga speak, “your practice.” Because you really can do whatever you want. Teachers are there to suggest, to notice from an outside perspective, and to help, using their experience.

But the learning is up to you: DO WHAT YOU WANT. #DWUW

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