Find The Joy
When I was young I would climb trees, duck into dens, run around, spin (until I felt sick) just generally move the body like a lunatic! Thinking back to those times, a sense of joy rises inside me still. This was my first lesson in "A healthy body equals a healthy mind" although I did not realise it. Yoga Asana practice encourages us to move our body with care and mindfulness. Not with such reckless abandon of youth, but still the movement brings a positivity to it - a sense of joy, calm or contentedness.
Moving the body to any degree is fantastic. Whether it is Acro-Yoga, Ashtanga, walking meditations or chair yoga, we are keeping the energy flowing around, actively stretching and strengthening our bodies. As we move in the yoga class we get a better understanding of our bodies. This knowledge can help us avoid injury and perhaps even ease aches and pains.
The practice of Yoga also brings us into the illusive 'now'. So often we are thinking of 'past' conversations or making stories around the 'future' and miss this very moment, the only moment we ever have control of, the 'present'.
We practise Yoga asanas, pranayama and concentration/meditation to benefit ourselves encouraging the body to be strong and flexible, encouraging the mind to be calm. In the true spirit of yoga if we begin to benefit ourselves, we are in a better position to benefit others and the world around us. We find space to make right choices (fact: fair trade chocolate doesn't contain calories**), have more clarity in how we respond to others or perhaps realise that reacting in a certain way to a situation is not going to help. We can begin to sometimes put our ego aside and instead skilfully navigate the world around us, helping or at least not hindering our planet and all sentient beings that reside on it.
**That statement might not be 100% true... .
"Whether young or old, very old, sick or feeble, one can attain perfection in all the yogas by practising" Hatha Yoga Pradipika Chp1:64