Just as I would in my yoga class, I would like to welcome you to this space and share a quote. Maybe these words will speak to your heart today or maybe they won’t. This is where I usually invite students to tune me out if they’d like and focus on their own intention for practice, but in honor of International Day of Yoga I’d encourage you to finish reading. “This is how it works: a calm and centered person makes different decisions than a stressed person does. An angry person chooses differently than a joyful one. When the nervous system is harmonized, we begin to resonate with calmer people and places. We slowly discover that we don’t need such intense stimuli to feel alive, so we let go, little by little, almost unconsciously, of negative habits, foods, and substances. We need fewer stimuli yet feel more alive. These apparently small changes accumulatively redirect the course of our life.”- Max Strom.
When I first found yoga, I was a bit of a mess. My mind jumped from one thought to another like a Redbull chugging monkey and I treated asana practice like an acrobatics class. Little by little, I learned to sit quietly with a clear mind, connect my breath to my movements, and form a heart-based practice on and off my mat. Each time I make the choice to step on my mat, I’m a little less of a mess and a little further along on my journey to calm and collected. Along this journey, I’ve found many things I love about yoga. Maybe one of these will even encourage you to roll out your mat, give meditation a try, or sign up for
a class at a studio you have never tried.
Over the past six months, I have practiced at seven studios in three different countries. The only thing that remained the same throughout all seven was the sense of support and love you get from fellow practitioners and teachers. The communities are also online too. Instagram is flooded with words of wisdoms, poses that make you say ‘holy crap!’, and a tremendous amount of support and love.
According to the American Council on Exercise, there are over 800 styles of yoga being taught in the United States alone. Still think there might not be an option for you?
Learning to breathe consciously and with awareness is a powerful tool that can offer immediate results. I will never forget the moment I finally understood what it meant to ‘connect with your breath’. Try it out. Life changing, ya’ll.
You can take your practice anywhere. No fancy shoes or equipment needed. Sure, a mat is nice, but not necessary. Grass and sand feel pretty nice under my hands every now and then. It’s your practice and your journey. All you need is to be present.
Physical, spiritual, and emotional growth happens in microscopic movements. We live in a world where bigger is better and more is never enough. In yoga, you’re always playing a game of micro movements with intention. Many of us can stand on one leg, but can you hold it for a minute? Five minutes? Are you standing using your muscles or are you stacking bone against bone? Are your hips in line? Is your lifted foot flexed to protect your knee? Are you still breathing? Try it. Microscopic adjustments are what will keep you balanced and upright. If you lift your leg too quickly or shift your weight too far to one side, you are bound to fall. If you move slowly and with as little effort as needed to reach your destination, that’s when you reach your sweet spot.
Live in the sweet.
With love and light. x
Andrea Brown is a Yoga Alliance certified teacher, wellness coach, and founder of @love_from_bombay who splits her time between Los Angeles and Mumbai. You can follow her travels around the world and yoga journey on instagram at @andreamicheleb.