The Purpose of Yoga in Healing

Yoga can serve as a way to witness and change the patterns, behaviours and beliefs that keep our authentic selves trapped within.  We approach yoga practice the way we approach life and given that our approach to life is shaped by our trauma, our yoga practice can greatly influence our understanding of ourselves and aid in shifting the way we are present in life.

For me, the most difficult thing was reaching for blocks in yoga. I stretched myself in impossible ways and left my body hanging in positions that could have led to serious injury, thinking I was going to my edge. My challenge was to admit and accept that I and my body require support in life, while not allowing this truth to be viewed as a weakness. One day, while taking a yin class, I was forced to ask for a block and a bolster as holding the 3-5 minute  poses was taking a toll on my body. I allowed myself to welcome the comfort that arrived with props, easing into my body and into the relief that came with feeling supported. That day I learned that there is a softer way through life.

Yin yoga provides reprieve for my hips from long hours of sitting. It also forces my body and mind to slow down, which is not always an easy task.Through yin, I often release emotions and some tears. Most importantly, yin yoga has challenged my pattern of pushing myself to the limit, choosing the hard way through life, while failing to pay attention to the real challenge, which was asking for support.

For me, yin and restorative yoga are life savers on some days, while other times, I need movement and flow in order to release mental, physical and emotional stagnation, which transfers into my way of being in the world. I believe that the purpose for yoga in healing is to unlearn what we learned and use the body to find stability and safety. Yoga is NOT about pushing ourselves to exhaustion, past the edge, running away from thoughts and feelings. It is about quieting the mind, not purging it. It is about learning to quiet the emotions present in the body, while accepting that they are there. It is about regulating, centering and supporting so that we can hear our inner voice inside….the voice of love and wisdom.

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