Acclaimed yoga teacher Jason Crandall recently posted this question on his Facebook Page:
If you could teach your students one thing, what would it be? If you don’t teach, what is the deepest, most valuable lesson or value that your practice has given you?
After much thought and contemplation on the topic, the same theme kept coming up over and over. I don't like to think of it as lesson learned. Rather the gift my mat has given me. That gift is living in the present moment.
Being a product of the microwave generation, I have become accustomed to this hurried lifestyle. I came to yoga to achieve athletic results, but have received so much more than that. Before I started practicing yoga, I was anxious, stressed out, and sick. I suffered from muscle tension, insomnia and teeth grinding. My relationships suffered as well, I had a deep fear of missing out and had a tendency to be reactive in personal relationships.
Yoga as been a big part of my journey, leading me to where I am today. Which is a much more calm and rested place than six years ago. I no longer feel like my heart is going to jump out of my chest, that my daily activities rushed, and falling asleep is no longer a challenge.
But isn't yoga just stretching? The physical aspect or asana practice represents just one limb of yoga. Yoga is traditionally a preparation for meditation. To sit for long periods of time, your body must be physically fit, or discomfort sets in. For many people, their yoga practice may be the only time they are engaged in one activity. Even though we are physically doing something, our minds are somewhere else. Through a consistent yoga practice we aim to eliminate distraction and be present to the current situation.