Consciously or not, our lives are limited very early on by the human capacity to judge and analyse everything around us. Yoga is no different, and the question constantly arises of where Yoga is in our society and its evolution.
In my humble and short experience as a Yoga teacher, I notice more and more the absence of younger practitioners and, likewise, a small number of men in the practices. Is Yoga equally categorized, as so many other practices, by gender?
But in Yoga there is no way to have practices only for women or only for men. Yoga exists for courageous people, who want to recognize the limits of their body while gaining greater mental awareness. Yoga is self-knowledge, it is the discovery of oneself through breathing, and sometimes it is in the moments between balance and imbalance in a posture that the point of brightness is found! Yoga is practiced on the mat but extends throughout life. And it is through the example that we share with the people around us, of tranquility, generosity, conscience and respect for others that true humanity appears. I could describe the countless physical benefits that a practice provides, but we all know that Yoga is much more than working the body, and it is in fact for everyone!
When I wrote these words, I felt a lot of desire to know and share some visions of Yoga by people around me or who, in some way, are part of my journey. Regardless of gender, life experience or age, we all feel Yoga in our lives in a very personal, but also quite similar, way.
Gonçalo Pôla| @goncalopola
ThinkYoga Studio Student
I know little about the history of Yoga and I started the practice formally very recently. I started Meditation 5 years ago. Finally the time has come to join two parts that are the same!
I can only and want to talk about what I feel.
First of all, I want to say that for me the practice of Yoga is, so far, what I expected and needed. I like it a lot and Meditation has been the greatest discovery of my life. It proved to be a path, a solution to my journey. It is spectacular for its simplicity and super positive results. We can do it whenever we want, wherever we want, free of charge, it relaxes your mind and it brings nothing but benefits.
With Yoga I am developing a greater perception and awareness of my body, working here and now in practice, without judgments or preconceptions, gradually revealing myself to a greater awareness of my body at every moment, being able to carry out tasks in a much more focused, more practical, fun, preventive and healthy way.
I consider it fun because I think it all comes down to that, knowing and training my mind, to achieve greater awareness, transporting it to the physical and from here on it is just fun. Because self-knowledge brings happiness, and it is that peace and happiness that I look for in life. Naturally, all this will be reflected in my way of coexisting and sharing this world, with respect for all living beings.
So these are two tools that I will take with me forever in my life.
Gustavo Valente | @grvphoto
Colleague on the Functional Hatha Yoga Teachers course
I started practicing Yoga regularly just over 2 years ago, but I had my first contact with it in 2006. I found that if I “start to let it cool down” we will not be able to reap the real fruits that come from the practices. That’s why, back in 2018, I decided to take it seriously and promised myself that I would really insert Yoga into my life, and I started to practice regularly, at least 3 times a week. My wife is a baker and wakes up very early for work. I took this opportunity to dedicate myself early (5:00 am) to my Sadhana (spiritual routine). We always drink coffee together and my day starts from there.
I practice 1 hour of Functional Hatha Yoga and 45 minutes of Yin Yoga. For me, Yoga goes far beyond physical activity. Yoga is the “way back home”, and the combination of Hatha Yoga & Yin Yoga allows me to simultaneously activate and relax my body and mind.
I feel lighter after the practices, more alive and with a lot of mental clarity. It is very beneficial in helping to make important decisions, especially if along with these practices we also insert the habit of Meditation. It is all about taking a moment just for us, looking with affection and attention to our thoughts and feelings without making any judgments. It’s about self investigating and verifying that we are not these fluctuations of the mind.
We are actually the ones who can observe all of this, and that is the main key of yoga. A tool of self- knowledge and observation to use outside the mat, following in a state of equanimity in our daily life, and thus we relate better with others, but mainly with ourselves.