An experienced yoga teacher asked me this question yesterday:
I have been following your blog for a while now. It seems to me that you are always missing the spiritual side of yoga in your comments and insight, that is the main very goal of this path. Why?
I was happy to get such a great question. It made me stop and think about what the purpose of my blog is and perhaps ask myself what is my purpose as a yoga teacher and practitioner.
I should have asked my commenter what he meant by “the spiritual side of yoga”, as we need to be on the same page, and this phrase is open to interpretation.
As a rather impetuous Sagittarian, I’ll just barge ahead with a response, and then invite further comments.
“Yoga Suits Her” passed the 500 post marker this last weekend. Amazing! I started the blog about two years ago as a way of integrating my yoga practice with my new rural existence on Mitchells Island, New South Wales – a big contrast with 30 plus years of city living. At the time, I had no idea what words would fly out of my keyboard.
Gradually the blog started to have a life of its own. It seemed it was there to make me pay more attention to my surroundings, my relationships with people, and my actions. I wanted to be able report insights I had as authentically, viscerally, and vividly as possible, and link them with yoga. In this way, what I did on my yoga mat was not my only yoga practice. These days, we seem to talk about “yoga on the mat”, and “yoga off the mat” or “yoga in the yoga room” and “yoga in the living room”, meaning life. As practitioners, we’re just trying to integrate yoga and make it who we are.
I made a choice for my Spirit by moving to more natural surroundings and going at a gentler pace than what I had experienced in the city. This existence has had salubrious consequences on all levels. On my blog I write about the effects of country living with tremendous gratitude. Every day I am thankful for the option I chose, and also for the new students I have met and for whom I am now a yoga guide.
The purpose of my blog is to convey gratitude and appreciation for my new life, to reveal the difficulties I experience at times in this transition, and to encourage yoga teachers and practitioners through my writing.
Sometimes I do this explicitly by talking about yama, niyama, Bhagavad Gita, inspiring teachers from any walk of life, and books that have helped me.
Spirit is implicit in what I write, teach and do. I don’t make much of a distinction among the 4 different levels that yoga can be taught on. Maybe this approach is a little too subtle; maybe it’s even a rather feminine approach. I don’t know. Yoga practice and teaching are almost always a function of who you are, and what the vision is that draws you forward. That to me is love.