My practice is anchored by Patanjali’s Sutra 1.1: Atha Yoganusasanam. As it is traditionally translated: ‘Now is the time for Yoga.’ How I like to translate it: ‘Now is the time for Focus.’
Because that’s all Yoga is to me, a practice of cultivating focus— a mindfulness method.
We can learn from Sutra 1.1 that Yoga is a state and a formal practice. Yoga is the uncovering of a still, present, alive, and aware mind. And to do this, in Classical Yoga, we practice the eight-limbed path.
Yamas - external observations
Niyamas - internal observations
Asana - postures or the physical practice
Pranayama - breath or energy control
Pratyahara - withdrawing inward
Dharana - concentration
Dhyana - meditative absorption
Samadhi - integration or liberation
Through Time, the eight-limbs becomes a lifestyle, but for beginners, it’s a framework, a structure guiding them through their own inner-discovery.
An Inner Journey
So why practice? We practice in order to attain the focus required to make this inner-journey. We practice to find, discover, and unveil our humanness, in other words, to be in the state of living.
To be fully alive is to be present in the Here & Now. And this is no small feat because each of us has conditioned, socialized, and ingrained patterns as well as trauma, keeping us anywhere but the Here & Now.
Yoga gives us a toolset to make the inner journey through our minds. Yoga provides us with the strength to see each of our patterns holding us back. Yoga helps us develop the resiliency to move behind our trauma, leading to an inward dive and peek behind the veil of us.
The Veil of Us
When the mind becomes trapped in conditioned patterns or traumas, it fluctuates. (Ancient Hindi lore says a human’s mind fluctuates like a drunk monkey bitten by a viper).
These fluctuations allow us to feel trapped in the past or the future.
So Atha Yoganusasanam — Now is the time for focus, means to me, Yoga is the cultivation of focus to move beyond these mind fluctuations; to live Life on Life’s terms.
Have I given up my worry, shame, or fear?
Not yet — but I know day by day that by cultivating this inner focus, I develop more tools to make the deep dives behind the fear my mind wants to stay trapped in. Day by day, I develop a strong enough gaze to look inward instead of outward.
Who Am I?
Like the rest of you, I’m a human trying to get through the suffering we call Life as best that I can.
In my journey, I feel blessed enough to have found Yoga. A practice that has saved my life more times than I can count. My promise to the practice is to teach from an experiential understanding. In my classes, I teach in the same way I practice.
This means in my 90-Minute Vinyasa, you aren’t going to get the traditional Western-stylized ‘move for 90-Minute Ashtanga class.’ You will get a taste of the eight limbs.
A lifestyle characterized by cultivating the focus required to live in the present moment, which includes a small pranayama (breathwork) practice at the beginning of class. A 45-50 minute asana practice, a meditation, and a savasana. Join me, and my small white yoga pup, on Saturdays for two-class options a Power Hour at 8:30 AM and a Vinyasa at 10:00 AM.
I hope to see you on the mat!
Blog Written by Lee Mowery, SYCC Yoga Teacher; Take a class with Lee Saturdays @ 8:30 AM | 'Power Hour' or @ 10 AM | 'Vinyasa Flow' ; images credited to Lee Mowery