Yoga is not an exercise. It is a philosophy. A way of living. Yoga includes exercise (asana), but to limit it to just this part of the practice would mean missing out on everything else it has to offer. It would be like sitting down to a fabulous five-course meal and eating only the appetizer. When you incorporate all of the yogic practices—such as breathing exercises (pranayama) and meditation (dhyana)—they work together to create not just a healthy physical body, but also healthy mental and emotional bodies. And it is from this steady and clear place that inspiration arises, the bud of creation.
Inspiration has two totally different definitions: 1) something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create, 2) the act of drawing in; specifically, the drawing of air into the lungs. But perhaps those meanings aren’t so different after all. Think about it. What do people say when someone is about to embark on a new adventure, or take on a big project, or make an important life decision? Take a deep breath! Meaning go forth, be brave, have faith to follow your heart, to be guided by your inspiration.
Inspiration springs from a well of creativity that resides deep inside all of us. Some idea, some passion arises from that murky depth, and when it has gained enough force, it begins to make itself known to us. At first it is just a whisper, like a tickle in the back of the mind. It can take some time before we even become aware of it. But once the thought bursts forth and becomes fully conscious, it starts growing like mad. At some point, it can no longer be contained in the mind, and it must blossom out into life, which it does through the channel of our creativity.
The yoga practices combined are a holistic methodology for bringing a person into a state of healthy equilibrium. This is our natural state—quiet, clear and peaceful. In this space, we hear the whisper of inspiration and are moved to create.
Laura Golden is a yoga instructor, sailor, writer & wanderer at large. She has been practicing yoga for 25 years & teaching for 15 of those. She has sailed across the Atlantic Ocean three times & the Pacific once. Her travels inspire her writing.
Artist Photos: Kelley Morris