Deep Breathing ~ Meditation ~ Visualization
TIPS ON FINDING A CLASS
The true meaning of Yoga has gotten lost in the West. Most people think of Yoga as a series of stretches and solely a physical practice. You can practice Yoga without doing any of the physical postures. Yoga is an ancient science that stems from Hindu Philosophy. The actual definition of Yoga means the union of the individualized consciousness with the Universal Consciousness, or in simpler terms, uniting the Soul with God or Divine Spirit. Yoga is not a religion, it is a practice of breath control and stilling the mind in order to expand ones consciousness. You can be of any shape, size, ability, color, or religion to practice Yoga. The physical practice of yoga, which is called Hatha yoga, was actually developed to help strengthen the body in order to sit for meditation. The word Ha means sun and tha means moon. Hatha is used as a balancing of energies, the sun and moon, yin and yang, and feminine and masculine energies. Hatha can have great benefits, as it did for Chelsea, but you do not have to practice any Hatha in order to be able to do true Yoga.
It's a daily challenge living with a degenerative neuromuscular disability, but it's also a daily practice. It's a practice of taking what you learn from Yoga into your thoughts, your words, your actions, and your love. It's a practice of taking what you learn from Yoga and applying it to dealing with physical pain. Chelsea still deals with daily pain. She still has times where she limps, because it hurts to walk and her joints ache. Sometimes when she takes a step she visualizes all of the bones in her feet shattering to pieces, because that's what it feels like. We are all a work in progress. Everyday there is room for new growth, new lessons, and new reminders of positive self acceptance. Be patient with yourself, your growing, and your healing. Remember, we are all just doing the best we can with what we've been given.
Balancing was and still is the most intimidating part of any yoga class Chelsea takes or teaches. Try telling someone who can't feel their feet or move their toes to ground down through their feet and spread their toes?! If an instructor has you working on balance, there is no shame in using a wall for support. (Or chair, but chairs are usually only provided in chair specific yoga classes.) Don't be hard on yourself and get discouraged. Chelsea has learned the most difficult poses for her are the ones she should be continuously doing. As a beginner when we start anything , we’re usually not that good at it. But to master anything you have to do it over and over again. Just like breathing deeply or balancing on one leg. It takes time to develop, patience, perseverance, and will power. Paramahansa Yogananda wrote, “The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success. The bludgeon of circumstances may bruise you, but keep your head erect. Always try once more no matter how many times you have failed. Fight when you think you can fight no longer, or when you think you have already done your best, or until your efforts are crowned with success.” (pg 60).
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