Monday, September 3rd, 2012...2:51 pm

Yoga Roughly Translated Means…

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by Sarah Prowitt

Yoga roughly translated means “yoke” or the “union” between body and mind. When I started practicing four years ago, I had no concept of how transformative this five thousand year old practice would be in my life. Yoga is more than an activity, it is a practice — one doesn’t achieve yoga nor does one ever stop learning its lessons. Many people tell me that they’d love to come to my classes at the REC but they’re afraid that they’ll “be bad at it,” but the beauty of yoga is that anyone can start and you can always grow. Yoga advocates: non-harming, non-judgment and non-competition. These concepts are often overlooked and not fully appreciated in modern day society. We often find ourselves so wrapped up in our academics and social lives that our lives seem too busy to pause and reflect.

The asanas or poses in yoga are meant to quiet our anxieties, bring energy to the body and focus the mind. People tell me they can’t do yoga because they’re not flexible, but it’s so much more than flexibility — it’s about strength, balance and focus as well. Yoga is my time for self-reflection, growth and relaxation. I realized that I wanted to teach yoga because I wanted to share my love of yoga with all students at the College. At the end of my freshman year, I auditioned and was selected to become a fitness instructor. The REC center gave me this opportunity to teach, and it has been a truly amazing journey. Imagine how incredible it would be if as a tribe we all took more time to take care of ourselves while uplifting each other, if we chose the path of non- judgment and non-harming.  I’ve had participants at the REC tell me they’ve never felt as relaxed as they are when they finish a class. One of my favorite studios at home tells its participants in its mantra to “carry the benefits of their practice into the world,” and I hope everyone who leaves my classes in some small way will.

Yoga has a way of constantly weaving its lessons into my life.  I find myself asking better questions, and examining my way of thinking. I consider how patient I can be in yoga, and try to bring that patience to my everyday life. The prana in yoga is one’s energy which we connect to by the breath. Often we forget to breathe, or rather we forget to take deep breathes, to slow down and really appreciate life moment by moment. I find after a great yoga class I’m more appreciative of every small gift life has to offer. I’m not saying that yoga can fix all your problems, but maybe it can help you find a new perspective.  I’ve learned to challenge assumptions, try new things, and let myself relax. Whenever life seems too stressful or like I can’t stand on my own two feet, yoga shows me how to pick myself up and balance on my two hands.

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