Did you know that yoga is so much more than stretching and moving through poses? Spoiler: that’s just one limb of yoga – and there are eight. We’ve talked a lot about finding stillness, peace, making connections to the breath, and flowing into your creativity. That all sounds so simple but finding ways to reframe our relationship to our inner and outer world is such a game-changer.
For me, yoga helped me open my eyes to the ways I can be present with myself and tune into my own form of balance. In the last quarter of 2021, I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training. Taking this training has taught me a lot about mindfulness and the gift it is to be one with yourself.
In this episode, I’ll be sharing my journey into yoga and the lessons that I’ve learned so you can carry them with you without having to pick up the practice if you don’t want to.
And bonus – Dive into the Reframing the Reset Challenge! It’s free, you can move at your own pace, and it’ll help you take action on what we’ve been exploring this season. Snag your roadmap here → balancedblackgirl.com/reset
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When we’re able to get still and to get quiet and to connect with our breath and to be present in the present moment, I think we can see things that we often can’t see if we are disconnected from our breath – if we are busy – if we are not in the present moment. And when we are able to be present and truly see what’s around us and see the possibility around us, that is when we have greater capacity to heal. That is when we have greater capacity to receive what can help us heal.
I ALSO TALK ABOUT…
- Yoga is so much more than stretching.
- Why Black women and yoga are a match made in heaven.
- My journey into yoga + what it’s taught me.
RESOURCES (CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS):
- Ep 65 – How to Heal Through Breathwork with Kathleen Booker
- Ep 66 – Creating Holistic Wellness Habits that Stick with Alina Brown
- Ep 75 – Wellness Beyond The Physical: Creating Spiritual, Emotional, And Social Change With Maryam Ajayi
- Ep 92 – Make Mindfulness Work For You + How To Prepare For Your Level-Up With Dora Kamau
YOGA IS SO MUCH MORE THAN STRETCHING
When you think about yoga what comes to mind? If you are picturing a thin, able-bodied white woman who has somehow positioned herself into a seemingly impossible inverted pose you aren’t alone. As a result of this common misconception, many of us have felt that yoga simply wasn’t for us. Society has shown us that the ‘ideal yogi’ is a super flexible person with access to unlimited funds who regularly goes to in-studio classes decked out in Lululemon. This point of view is narrow and has prevented many folks from getting on the mat.
The truth is, yoga is for everybody and every | body. Yoga is love, it’s breathwork and meditation. Asana (which means physical postures) is only one of the eight limbs. Therefore we have seven other ways to practice this sacred art without getting stuck in the body.
BLACK WOMEN AND YOGA ARE A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN
Yoga is a part of us. There is a branch of yoga that originated in Africa called Kemetic Yoga. Kemtic Yoga is a system of yoga that involves a combination of physical movements, deep breathing techniques, and meditation. This method of yoga actually predates Indian yoga. How cool is that?
There is a significant disconnect between who we see practicing yoga in our mainstream media and what the practice truly is. As black women, we often have to morph ourselves to fit into a box that is more palatable. When it comes to yoga you don’t need to be a hippy or have a certain aesthetic that isn’t true to yourself.
MY JOURNEY INTO YOGA + WHAT I’VE LEARNED
The part of yoga education that has been particularly impactful for me has been learning about the Yamas and the Niyamas. Yamas are considered restraints and include nonviolence, truthfulness, nonstealing, nonexcess, and non-possessiveness. Niyamas are the Sanskrit term for “observances”, things we want to practice which include purity (non-sexual), contentment, self-discipline, self-study, and surrender. Looking at how applying all of these things to our daily lives can occur on the mat, if you choose, and ripple out beyond that. Or can occur in your mind, in your interactions, and in how you approach each day.
Throughout my relationship with yoga, I noticed that when I am consistent in my practice the obstacles that life throws my way are more manageable. It’s not like my yoga practice fixes all the issues that life can bring. Rather, my practice encourages me to be fluid and “flexible” (not physically y’all) in reaction to life’s challenges. Yoga has been a part of my life for a while now, but my teacher training solidified my passion for sharing what I learned with my community. I didn’t want you to feel like this was coming from nowhere. My practice has really reframed my reset and influenced how I move, treat myself, and treat others, and I look forward to continuing to share that practice with you.
- You don’t need to be a certain type of person with specific habits or mindsets to practice yoga
- Breathwork elements can impact our comfort with trying yoga – movement that is too slow or if the breath is too present, lean into it*
- Flexibility is a benefit, not a need. the thing to focus on is actually the gift of breath first and foremost
- Anything you can do to mind, body, + breath is yoga
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We hope you learned a lot in this episode. If you feel inspired, share the ways you are incorporating more yoga in your life on our IG!