Sunday, January 23

McNair Warriors

It’s so cool to see the group all together in Warrior Pose. Really, how cool is that?! First, I am happy that everyone kept an open mind during our Intro to Yoga workshop. Pretty much since starting this job, I have struggled with wanting to help our scholars more in dealing with stress, moving beyond “sticking points” from their past, finding balance and just feeling stronger and more confident as individuals overall. I deeply believe that yoga is one solution to this challenge. It’s funny since I actually started exploring the benefits of yoga myself over ten years ago while living in Boston, and am just now incorporating it into our McNair offerings.

Besides the obvious physical benefits of getting the blood pumping, strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility, yoga offers the opportunity to reduce stress and tension by using breath to focus the mind. Yoga gives us the space to step outside our demanding schedules and learn to become more present in our lives. By breathing and focusing on the present moment, we can become more productive and content from moment to moment. I know for myself, I feel ten times better on days that I practice, on many levels. I feel more relaxed and capable in dealing with daily demands and pressures; I also feel happier. What’s great about exposing more people to yoga, like each of you, is that more people will reap these potential benefits. Practicing with one another and sharing our experiences during this process also leads to further camaraderie among the group! I honestly can’t wait to stand witness to this unfolding for those who wish to participate. Scholars from last year’s group started exploring this tool this past summer and now our new group is welcome to join in…

I would like to close this post with several sentiments expressed by Charlotte Bell, an experienced yoga teacher and author of, “Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life.” I know that Friday’s session was challenging. Trying something new can be challenging. I encourage you to stay with the challenge to see what benefits might come to you as a result. Charlotte writes about the poses, like Warrior I, “Each person’s expression of a pose is a perfect expression of his/her Self in that moment.” She goes on to say:

“We learn to relax into where we are. We can give up the struggle to attain something we believe is lacking in our experience. With this shift of intention, asana practice becomes not just a mechanical performance of a pose (or an exercise in frustration if our bodies are not willing to go there). It is a way to become familiar with our wellspring of equanimity that does not depend on `perfect’ conditions. Each time we tap into our own center of peace, even when the physical sensation accompanying an asana is quite intense, the peace that is intrinsic to us becomes more accessible to us in the rest of our lives.”

--Excerpted from “Pursuit of the Perfect Pose”

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