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  • Writer's pictureCandace Porter

Metamorphosis on the Mat :Transformative and Healing Power of Yoga

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

So many times when observing yoga from the outside people may think of it as all about flexibility and obtaining stunning pretzeling postures with the body. Beginner yogis may also often make the misconception of placing utmost importance on creating the shape they think they should with their body in a specific pose or asana. It is crucial to note that exploring the way a pose feels to your specific body- disregarding how it may appear externally- is the ultimate goal.

It is also noteworthy that from day to day, week to week- the way we look on the mat may change- for the better or worse. Our circumstances, situations, and level of stress and workload are a continual monitor of how our body may respond to a practice on any given day. Therefore, it is important to never place judgment on yourself, or the way your pose may appear in comparison to someone else.

We are each experiencing a different path and unique time on our own journey and should never expect to be anything other than who we are- where we are- because we are simply exactly where we need to be. The thing to remember is that if we are continuous in our efforts, the benefits will reveal themselves.

That brings me to my next point- consistency. Yoga practice and the routine of having a yoga practice has the potential to profoundly change your perspective, well-being, and perhaps even trajectory of your actions- and of your life. It does so in ways that are deeply beneficial to your overall wellness and happiness. We gain an awareness internally and a gratitude mindset. When yoga is truly embraced, it shows us the realization that we are not so much teaching our bodies what to do, but are discovering the hidden {maybe dark} habits of our mind, body and emotions, and how to transform the negative into the positive! This link of body, mind, and all things and beings around us on this earth is the tool we take off the mat and into the world around us- to better our day to day, our longevity, and others.

There is of course, as a safety to our physical bodies- a technique and alignment to follow as we guide our bodies in and out of postures. However, the real work happening in yoga comes from within. As we engage and listen to what our body has to say, it teaches the mind many micro-lessons- and the mind in turn, teaches the body. There are no actual words to explain or describe this unification of the self, but it’s profoundness is evident, clear, and bountiful.

Our focus and awareness, especially as a beginner yogi, can be less than ideal. We may assume a pose and continually think to ourselves “Man, is it time to come out yet!?”. And the instructor continues on “Just breathe. . . And draw your awareness to the point of restriction.” And you’re still thinking “I can’t do this much longer!” If this is ever you- then you’re exactly where you need to be- in a yoga class. The patience and focus you will gain- training your mind to be present, and teaching your flow of breath to aid you- will heal your body’s physical and mental ailments(even ones you didn’t realize you had).

Yoga has an interesting way of connecting our mind to our bodies- and if you’re willing to listen- you can learn more than you’ve ever known about yourself, and maybe even notice the ways you react when things get tough. The heavenliness and beauty is though, that the lessons our soul and spirit acquire are taken off the mat and begin to transform every part of our lives. Things we say, what we do, foods we eat, how we act.. When you’re asking your body, mind, and spirit daily what it (YOU) need, the answers are clear- and the actions you need to take to fulfill those needs are evident.

I highly recommend, especially if you’re a beginner, but even if you’re a seasoned yogi that normally sticks to one style of yoga- I suggest a balance. A balance of both yin yoga and ‘yang’. A perfect combination of passive postures and active flows, too. This will enable you the opportunity and time to encompass and explore asanas more fully- and truly connect to our breath and body-mind awareness.

Next time you’re in class, notice your internal dialogue. Notice what your habits are. What are you thinking? And what things can you say differently to yourself as you nurture and show love to all that you are. Yoga is about finding balance from the inside out, so next time you’re blessed with an opportunity on the mat- see if you can truly tap in to your weaknesses and strengths alike. I think and hope you will be surprised by the vast potential of your mind, body, and soul.

Candace Porter

Founder of Cavanal Calm Yoga, Yoga Teacher

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