I have no idea when it happened, but recently I came to realise that I've developed a really deeply rooted connection to my yoga practice, something that I struggle describe to others, a feeling that I can't seem to put the right words around. The best description that I can give is that it feels like I became yoga, like there is no longer a separation between the practice and myself.
Today I was in a class where one of my teachers was raising the same question, what is the difference between 'doing' yoga and 'being' yoga and how do you describe what yoga is to somebody who is curious without scaring them off?
It seems that this is a common occurrence, when we practice consistently for long enough we start to become the practice, applying the principles as an unconscious reaction.
I can't help but laugh at myself when I think of all the ways that has yoga crept into my day to day life, so I thought I'd make a short list.
You know you are "living' yoga not 'doing' yoga when:
1. Where possible you avoid sitting on chairs, the floor just feels like the more natural place to be
2. Your running playlist features Kirtan music (think lots of Krishna Das)
3. You literally live in yoga clothing
4. You know everything about your digestion and probably your yogi friends too
5. You catch yourself in negative self talk and then give yourself a talking to about the negative self talk
6. You start seeing how yoga can link to a thousand other things (the other day I linked quantum mechanics to the yogic special powers spoken about in some of the ancient texts)
7. As much as spiders scare the life out of you, you respectfully usher them out of your house even if it takes 5 minutes to get them to the door
8. Rather than watching trashy TV you prefer to seek out lectures on philosophy, yoga documentaries, anything on India, law of attraction, spirituality (you get the idea - anything that expands the mind).
9. You hear something vaguely referring to an energy centre and you go off on a tangent singing the chakra song scanning through the body
10. You become aware, really aware...of thoughts, actions, attachments, behaviour patterns etc. Sometime I do find myself wishing I could back this one off a little!
I could go on forever - I haven't even started on some of the more obvious changes/benefits of yoga infiltrating your life.
I've 'become' lots of other stuff in my life (triathlon, a career) but never felt this deep connection, this protectiveness towards it. This time its been a very healthy 'becoming' something that I feel takes me closer and closer to being the type of person that I aspire to be. I love how the practice of yoga is constantly inviting me to learn, grow and transform, that I don't think I will ever get tired of.
I'd love to hear some other, you know you've become yoga when's.....if you have some please feel free to share!
Mandy Habener (Dumas)