Open Sesame

Yes, starting yoga is an adventure – it’s like joining Ali Baba and the forty thieves in their treasure hunt to open Sesame. You frequent a journey to the center of your being, and you search for answers. And when Yoga tells you all the answers are already imprinted into your soul scape – all you have to do is retrieve them, you smile back. Yoga helps us unpeel the outer layers to reveal our true essence. And it does that through the course of a life span. It never promises the ultimate quick fix or the optimal results – it takes you on a journey so you can discover the purpose of your life. Yes, the answer lies within…

We constantly look for the answers outside of ourselves. We get into personal development; attending seminars. We listen to audio series and we read books looking for the answer in places the answer doesn’t lurk. Personal Development should be renamed personal awareness. Awareness is only the first step. And that is the key to cultivating a life long yoga practice. As we keep up the practice we raise awareness, we become more mindful, attentive, cognizant that we are not alone. All of us are treading on the same path, searching for the same truth. What yoga brings to every beginner is incredible inspiration to savor every aspect of life with attention and awareness, with compassion and forbearance. It is like a mirror that reflects the subtle shifts of the soul and opens space for development and growth. It helps us identify what is holding us back and how we can disentangle the knots so we can enjoy a healthy and wholesome life.

When I started yoga more than 22 years ago it first brought up all the fears on the surface. I realized that where we are and what we have in our lives is based upon the fears that we have allowed to control our lives. Think about it: the reason why we don’t have the things we want; the lifestyle we want; the relationships we want; the body we want is because of our fear and our unwillingness to get uncomfortable and move towards it. These fears stem from the things we have chosen to believe. Yoga helps us reshape these beliefs with love and compassion, throwing light on our shadow and hinting the things we need to adjust to stand in the light of our divine.

And most importantly it doesn’t tell us how to fix things, it leaves us the freedom to choose and decide when, where and how. It allows us to relinquish the gravity of the past and forge forward renewed. And we can start fresh every day. There are no deadlines no meet, no objectives to achieve, no recipes to follow, no rules to adhere to – just a process of immersion, a practice that you can choose to fit your needs and level of awareness.

These are insider hints from a humble yoga pro like myself. Cultivating awareness is the actual goal in yoga. If you persist with patience and devotion it will transform you into well of information that you can draw upon at any moment. Taking your practice from moment to moment is the most rewarding part. If you feel sore the next day, don’t skip class – go anyway. It is important to stay grounded and be consistent. There is no need to push. Remember, no one is watching you. You are not proving anything to anyone or yourself. You are simply staying the course – refining every nut and bolt or your internal mechanism. And don’t get too hooked on deities, mantras, Sanskrit or the preference of one style over the other. All these are just tools to bring out your authenticity – don’t turn the practice into a Hindu or Buddhist discipleship. It’s up to you what tools you want to use to expand your awareness. Yoga is not a religion and all paths and approaches feed off the same source.

Not to forget – honor your edge. You are not competing as a contortionist or a dancer. Know your body’s anatomy – its limits and gifts and work around them. Getting injured due to unnecessary pushing will throw your practice off balance or worse you might shy away from yoga for life.

Oh, and very crucial for all newbies – practice yoga on an empty stomach. This is the only way you will reap all the yammi physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits.

And last but most important don’t skip Savasana, relaxation or meditation, even if it’s one minute stretch it to eternity. This is the time when your body replenishes and reaps all the benefits from the yoga practice. Because Yoga is a transformational experience that allows you to unearth the treasures within. The Sesame code is simply – Stay the course, be true to your heart, keep grounded and share your light with the rest of the world and the Universe. What better way to open Sesame!

Have fun, enjoy the practice, relish every moment. It is never over. How exciting that each day it is like we are born again. We get to try all over again with some victories and some failures that we learn from. Treasure your yoga. It is a gift. All you gotta do is just keep on “Doin’ it”…

Beginners Yoga Routine: Oxygen Shot

This is an accessible yoga routine for beginners – tenderly designed to take you through the whole palette of a well-rounded and fun yoga practice. Starting form all fours and moving through gentle cobra and worm dips and arches, you will be able to warm up the spine and find your center. Incorporating gentle twists and spinal undulations through lunges, will stretch your thigh muscles and tendons. Shifting weight, while changing levels and angles will teach you to transition smoothly and safely from the kneeling to the standing plane and back. A series of standing hip openers and balancing poses will test your mental and physical equilibrium. A couple of seated twists, side and back bends will chill you out so you can recline on your back and cuddle inside. A quick relaxation will take you to your well of power, and leave you balanced and renewed.

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