Even though we may have already celebrated 1/1/2019, the Spring Equinox is the start of the astrological year and is the start of spring for Mother Nature. It’s a good time to set some intentions or goals if you missed doing that for the first of the calendar year; and if you did do that already, it’s a good time to reaffirm those resolutions and check in on your progress so far. Make any adjustments as needed, add new things, cross things off (maybe, if you’re super-efficient, good for you).
For myself, 2019 is going to be a big year of learning. I’m starting an Ayurveda Heath Counselor Program with Kerala Ayurveda (based in CA, but I can attend online! Yay!). In preparation, I’ve started reading some books that are recommended for the course and it’s been very inspiring.
I’m going to be writing an update each month on the material that I’m learning. 1. This will allow me to share the knowledge, and 2. It will be a nice way to summarize what I’ve learned in the past month, and make sure that I’m committing it to memory by using my own way of talking about it, not just reiterating.
Walking the Walk
Matthew DeRubertis is a musician and yoga teacher in Akron, Ohio. He is the owner of Conscious Yoga and teaches at Yoga Squared and Lifesource Yoga. Matthew teaches from experience and has a way of inviting and guiding you into your Self to find your own peace and truth. In preparing for this interview, he invited me to share lunch and coffee, spiced with cardamom – yum. Après yoga, seated / lounging in his pillow corner, incense burning, and gypsy jazz playing in the background, Matthew discussed his journey of yoga.
Best way to start—how did you find yoga?
First, in a series, that will be an on going project. I will be interviewing studio owners and yoga teachers that I find are doing the dharma! To share that we may come from different backgrounds, for different reasons but we all experiences difficulties along the way. Through talking about this, I hope to help inspire those of you who are just starting your yoga journey to keep going and know that you are not alone.
Diane Boenker - Owner of Lifesource Yoga
How about “Tune in to your body”?
This is a phrase you will hear throughout yoga classes anywhere you may go. At first, this phrase, “Listen to your body” may seem confusing…our bodies don’t speak to us like people do, how do we listen to them?
When you hear this you may wonder, “How do I listen to my body? What does that even mean?” You may think, “My body doesn’t talk to me, how am I supposed to listen to it?” All valid points. This is a confusing phrase but, also, a complex phrase. In taking time to write this, I’ve found it difficult to condense my thoughts to clearly show and explain the true and deep meaning of this phrase: “Listen to your body.”
It’s true that our body does not “talk” to us as we talk to other humans around us. However, our bodies do communicate to us. They communicate to us through gentle, subtle ways in, what I’ll describe as, feelings. So gentle that the communication can be easily missed or overlooked. So subtle that we may take it for granted. Or, these feeling can be quite powerful and strong, so dynamic and compelling that they cannot possibly be ignored. We’ve all experienced what we term as that “gut feeling.” Another term I use for this experience is “knowing” or “a sense of knowing.” This gut feeling makes itself known, it’s in your face with the message, “Listen to me, or else.” This is a form of communication to you through your body and this is one of many.
...and what to expect.
Hello! I'm so happy to hear that you're finally giving yoga a try!
You've heard about it in the media, you've heard about it from friends, you've seen it in the magazines, maybe your doctor said it would be good for you... no matter how you found your way, I'm glad you're here.
Any time we try something new, we get a little anxiety about the unknown. I would like to set your mind at ease about being a beginner. Everyone, who has ever started anything, has always been a beginner. The same is true with yoga. We were all beginners at one point, just like you! I know I had some butterflies in my stomach when I walked into a room full of people I didn't know to do something I wasn't familiar with. So, I just want to let you know, we've all been where you are now.
AND. Being a beginner is AWESOME! Why? Well, because everything is new and exciting to you, enjoy that! Enjoy and embrace the excitement of learning a new skill. Now, that's not to say you won't experience some frustration, but that's okay too. You wouldn't be challenging yourself and growing if you weren't experiencing some frustration or even anger. It's all okay.
Well. Maybe we should start with what yoga is...
Yoga means "to yoke" or "unite." Yoking typically refers to "yoke oxen," when a farmer would harness two oxen together to accomplish harder work. So energies were combined. In yoga, we focus on uniting breath with awareness and movement. In turn, that unites the body to the mind. When we are able to unite body and mind through focus on the breath, and awareness of movement we are able to be present in the moment. When we are present in the now, we are able to find a sense of stillness and peace. In that space of stillness and awareness, we are able to listen. Listen to our innate senses, our intuition, our true self. So yoga helps us find our true nature, and once we find it, listen to it! To find that sense of knowing, that sense of truth - whatever truth that may be.
Yoga is like a multifaceted diamond. There are many facets and dimensions depending on how the light shines. This is part of why I think yoga is so wonderful; it's versatile. Anyone can pick which parts work for them or leave which parts don't, whether that's in the style or the philosophy, and receive benefits.