By Willa Junkinsmith
Yoga has been and continues to be a complete re-awakening of my spirit. Through my practice I have become stronger, more compassionate towards myself and others, more patient, and more my true self. Yoga has enabled me to change my thought patterns to healthy ones and open my mind to new experiences and feel like I can trust people more easily. Everything that I learn about yoga resonates with me. I am inspired by the teachers and also by other students. I love watching the older women in class and trying to practice like they do. They are so strong and I want to be like them. There are poses that they totally nail, that I get to, and then fall out of it– although really it doesn’t bother me to fall.
I love that yoga is a continual process of self-love and self-improvement and that it enables me to grow without being critical of myself because it is not competitive or graded. Yoga is something that I do even when I am not doing actual asanas. It is a kind of consciousness that I want to master over time. A way of thinking and being that I want to be. I like being conscious that I am not my thoughts and feelings, but that I am a third consciousness that is always okay even when I am in emotional or physical pain. I like being conscious that I am not separate from other people, but that we are all connected in different ways, and that the time we get to spend on Earth together is special. I think that the world we live in moves at such a fast pace and that there is a sense of acceleration and restlessness. The drive for materialism and success seems at times to be relentless. It is soothing to be aware that I can step out of this and appreciate everything that I have in my life, and to believe that I already am something, I do not have to wait to become something more defined and more finished.
It’s like art. Art doesn’t really ever seem to be completely finished or a perfect manifestation of what you intended it to look like. But it is something, and you just continue to grow and learn and change, while already being something. I like thinking about how people have been practicing yoga for centuries, and that the human experience is shared. I want to manifest the philosophies of non-judgment and detachment in my own life but these are not things that I will complete and be done with. They are things that I will continue to practice every day for my own life. I like re-discovering that joy and happiness are not dependent upon external things, but are things that already exist inside me.