When I first discovered yoga, I loved the way my body was left feeling relaxed yet full of energy, stronger but with a sense that went deeper than just my physical body.
Yoga is a mystery to many people and most don't know what to expect from their first class. Many are intimidated by popular misconceptions and bring with them to their first class a sense of doubt and inferiority—of not being flexible enough, good enough, focused enough.
I try to make them feel welcome by smiling warmly, and go on to explain that yoga is not about having to be any of these things. Yoga will help bring these qualities into your life, but does not require you to have them in order to participate.
Probably the most enjoyment I get from teaching is watching my new students. Their initial doubt and anxiety melt away as they begin to relax and enjoy the exhilarating effects yoga has on their bodies. There is no competition or ego involved. Rather, yoga is about going at your own pace, going within to listen to your own body, going only as far as is comfortable. You don't have to be perfect at doing the postures, more importantly, it's about taking the time to be with yourself, listening to your body and becoming "in tune" to its needs, knowing your limitations, and respecting them. Once you feel this in your body, you are able to carry this into your daily life. This is what yoga is about and what it brings to you. Yoga can change your life so that you feel more energy, strength and endurance, and develop a sense of calm within, improving your daily life.
Too many of us have lost that sense of "who" we are. Yoga brings you back to that connection, helping you connect to your body through the postures and breathing exercises, rediscovering your spirit—that sense of who you are. In chakra yoga, the yoga I teach, I take you one step further and invite you to explore your emotions and feelings as you work your physical body, helping you become aware of the deeper connection we have to our feelings.
Chakras are energy centers that store emotions, feelings, and thoughts, both positive and negative. Often, we are unaware that we hold onto negative emotions, especially when they are small or seemingly insignificant. Holding on to even the most insignificant of negative emotions leads to a "buildup" of negative energy. Unaware of this "buildup" within ourselves, these emotions become trapped in our bodies, blocking the path to true inner peace and happiness. Opening and balancing your chakras helps you to recognize the negative energy that has become trapped in your body and that no longer serves your purpose. Chakra work gives you the tools needed to take charge and release this energy—promoting inner healing and better all-around health, allowing you to move forward in life. I refer to this approach to yoga as chakra yoga.
The Beauty of Yoga is my attempt to help open the doors to yoga, dispel the misunderstandings and anxiety, and help you discover yoga's beauty and gentleness. With all the benefits yoga has to offer, you will discover how strong your body can become, both physically and emotionally. The Beauty of Yoga shows you how to work your physical body through postures while simultaneously working your emotional/mental body by releasing issues that have settled there. Chakra yoga teaches you to learn from your stress as you find out where it comes from. It is not until then that you can begin to release the negative energy from your life. This is what it means to "discover" yourself.
Chakra work is about self-discovery, and chakra yoga can help speed up your journey of self-discovery. I practice this form of yoga because, when I do, I feel nourished and strengthened on all levels. I am left feeling wonderfully energized and invigorated as I open up and prepare myself to face my challenges emotionally, physically, and mentally.
This book is my way to share this information with you, to help you discover "who you are" as you begin your own journey of self-discovery. For those of you already on your way, I hope to provide you with a method of tuning into your body on deeper levels, helping you to reach your emotional, mental, and physical potential. I believe to gain the most benefit from yoga you need to discover and face your weaknesses, which are almost always your life lessons, as you discover the root to those weaknesses. You learn lessons and how to overcome fears in order to grow and continue on your path. You learn to go inward to stay focused on your needs, dealing with life's stresses by drawing from a sense of calm instead of using external sources which can often be distorted and vague.
Yoga is a powerful yet gentle discipline that allows you to develop strength and flexibility while clearing your mind and reducing stress and tension. Yoga is the union of the body and mind. It's about being in the moment, getting inside yourself to make a deeper connection, and learning to live your life more fully.