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The Essence of Yoga: Beyond the Pose



In today's fast-paced world, stress and anxiety have become common companions, finding solace and inner peace has become increasingly important, while also being more and more difficult to cultivate. Yoga offers a holistic approach in finding physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. While many perceive yoga as simply a series of physical postures, it encompasses a much deeper and profound philosophy.


I will openly admit when I first started on my Yoga journey, I arrived on my mat with the postures as my only focus. For many years my ego was the driving force, never truly allowing myself to be open to what was truly happening. I would leave feeling lighter and more at peace but I did not really understand why, nor care to know. Looking back, after over two decades of practice I can connect those dots.

I came to Yoga when I was in nursing school, it was “gym” yoga and there wasn’t any philosophy or theming in those classes. I enjoyed how my body felt after class and that was what continually brought me back. I know now that the practice of Yoga was also helping me find a sense of ease and peace during those stressful years of nursing school. It was a place where I could go that was just for me, none of my friends were into Yoga, and even though I always attended group classes I let go of the stressors and noise of the outside world and just tuned into the movements of my body.


Today, after many years of practicing, multiple trainings and workshops, retreats, and a life changing trip to India, my belief in the healing benefits that Yoga offers has become not only my passion and my profession, but also my way of life. My physical practice has ebbed and flowed many MANY times over the years. I have gone months without ever getting on my mat and that is ok, as I know now, Yoga is more than the physical practice. Yoga is part of me, it is the lens that I see the world through and offers me a place to return to whenever I feel lost.


Union of Mind, Body, and Spirit:

Yoga aims to harmonize the mind, body, and spirit, fostering a deep connection within ourselves and the world around us. Yoga teaches us awareness, awareness of our external world, our internal world, and how the two intertwine. While the physical postures, or asanas, are an integral part of yoga, they serve as a means to prepare the body for meditation and self-realization and self-reflection. Yoga teaches us to be present in the moment, to not worry about where we’ve been or where we are going. It teaches us to just be!



Breath Awareness and Pranayama:


One of the fundamental aspects of yoga is pranayama, the practice of controlling, regulating, and being conscious of the breath. Conscious breathing enhances the flow of our life force energy (Prana), bringing balance to our nervous system and promoting overall well-being. By focusing on the breath, we learn to calm the mind, manage stress, and cultivate a deep sense of relaxation. Pranayama expands our understanding of yoga beyond the physical realm, offering a gateway to self-discovery and spiritual growth. We learn that with each inhale we can also find inspiration in life and in ourselves and with each exhale we learn to let go, to find ease, and to ground ourselves. During our asana or posture practice we learn to expand with each inhale and turn inward with each exhale, we learn to link our breath with our movement to help cultivate harmony and union.


Mindfulness and Meditation:

Yoga encourages the cultivation of mindfulness, the practice of being fully present and aware of the present moment. Through mindful awareness, we observe our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without judgment, fostering self-acceptance, self-reflection, and inner peace.

Meditation, an integral component of yoga, allows us to quiet the mind, delve into our inner world, and connect with our True Self.


Ethical Principles and Moral Values:

Yoga encompasses a set of ethical principles known as the Yamas and Niyamas, which serve as guidelines for living a harmonious and purposeful life. The Yamas encourage qualities such as honesty, non-violence, and compassion, fostering a sense of integrity and kindness towards oneself and others. The Niyamas emphasize self-discipline, contentment, and self-study, leading to personal growth and self-awareness. By embracing these moral values, yoga practitioners develop a greater sense of interconnectedness, contribute positively to society, and become more aware of the energy they offer, as well as the energy they allow in.


Mind-Body Healing and Wellness:

While physical health is a desirable outcome of yoga, it is not the sole focus. Yoga has been recognized for its therapeutic benefits in addressing various physical and mental health conditions; such as arthritis, back pain, hypertension, depression, anxiety, and more . By incorporating breath work, relaxation techniques, and gentle movements, yoga promotes stress reduction, improves flexibility, enhances posture, and increases overall strength and balance. Furthermore, yoga has been found to alleviate anxiety, depression, decrease blood pressure and improve sleep, offering a holistic approach to health.



Yoga is a profound and multi-faceted practice that extends far beyond the physical postures. It is a path of self-discovery, inner transformation, and holistic well-being. Through breath awareness, meditation, ethical principles, and mindful living, yoga will help you cultivate a harmonious union of mind, body, and spirit. By embracing yoga as a holistic lifestyle, we unlock the potential for personal growth, self-realization, and a deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us.

So, let us embrace yoga as more than just the pose and embark on a journey of self discovery and healing.


Lisa Ostler

RN, BSN, NC-BC, FMP, RYT

Olympia Integrative Healing


 

Places to Learn, Flow, and Grow:


If you are a Nurse (RN, LPN, or NP, DNP) you can register for my course:

Yoga 4 Nurses: A Holistic Approach to Wellness

A beautiful 10-week program where you will be inspired to incorporate Yoga into all facets of your nursing career

and personal life.


Coming Soon: Simplicity Unraveled: The Yogic Path to Inner Harmony

A 10 day adventure to help you create simplicity in your life and make room for you grow, change, and thrive.

Sign Up is open now!


You can practice in person or virtually with me at True Self Yoga, Olympia, WA

Tuesdays 530pm-630pm

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