Stretching & Yoga Have NOTHING In Common

Yoga Sutra 1.1: And NOW…..the instruction of YOGA

Yoga is referred to as a yoga “practice” so for ANY of this to make an ACTUAL difference in our lives it HAS to have meaning, and so, it logically makes sense to have a CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of: what is YOGA and, what is a PRACTICE, and WHY are we combining the two? 

I’m going to start with the “practice” part because busting open, ALL THAT IS YOGA, feels like an overwhelmingly full can of worms. What does it mean to PRACTICE? I looked the word, ‘practice,’ up in the dictionary BUT didn’t like any of the definitions; they seemed to be awfully filled with loaded and prickly words like: performance, theory, and belief.

In ANDREALAND, I currently declare THE PRACTICE (in relation to yoga) as: the conscious, unassuming, and curious inquiry into self on a regular basis, and considering I teach asana class (physical practice), I am going to add: that: this inquiry is through many modalities but with directed focus on the body,the mind, the breath, movement, and their integration. 

Ok, so now that we are showing up regularly, with an open mind and an unassuming nature, we can NOW begin to consider, all that is YOGA. Goodness knows we have been inundated with no shortage of perceptions as to WHAT IS YOGA: “yoga is stretching, yoga is touching your toes, yoga is NOT for me, yoga is a cult, yoga is a religion, yoga is for bendy girls in tights, yoga is a fad, yoga is Indian men with beards standing on their heads,” and I’m sure you could chime in with a few more here!

THE ABSOLUTE BEST PART OF YOGA: We are gifted a framework, and we get to design and decorate according to the needs of our individual self and THE TRUTH THAT WE EXPERIENCE is honored as: MOST important AND legitimate. So, if our body and mind are the framework, then we GET TO choose what kind of pipes we install, what materials are used to build the structure, how important is it for us to have brushed nickel vs. stainless steel, what color the walls will be painted, where the furniture’s placed, and if art is a part of the composition.  

What I currently consider the practice of yoga (and here is the integration between yoga and practice) to be is: the ENCOURAGEMENT and PERMISSION SLIP to re-do, re-structure, re-paint, re-arrange, and re-decorate this framework as many flippin times as we need to. And maybe there’s NEVER a “getting it right,” but actually GETTING, that we are already “IT.” My guess, is that we never ultimately “finish,” we simply continue to refine. So maybe now, I’m no longer ripping apart my walls, but I am considering the study of fung shway as an integral part of my home and its’ energy. And PS, the speed at which this happens and the particular refinements are IRRELEVANT and just one more way we get tricked into separating ourselves as “better than.” Hence the importance of CONSISTENT practice…

For me personally, as Andrea, in February of 2019, YOGA IS, the commitment to showing up to myself with the pure intention to unbiasedly observe myself in my life and see how my choices and behaviors are contributing or NOT contributing to my “ITNESS,” my truth. In our case, it also includes the observation of our own physical body and HOW it holds the power to teach us about our ‘BEING.’ This is our school (or maybe what school has the potential to be), we learn stuff, tools and techniques that will benefit us when we go OUT THERE, into the ever unfolding drama of Planet Earth. We go out there ALREADY KNOWING that many of these dramas and characters WILL invite us in, and just like Hansel and Gretel, we are being tempted with candy and sweets….maybe we even attend 1, 2, 3, or maybe even 100 of these dramas, until we learn that we no longer WANT to attend, and that we have the power and the choice NOT TO. The moment we make that choice, the moment we decline the invitation, is the very moment that we have taken our yoga practice from a dress rehearsal into a REAL LIVE SHOW called LIFE. I also consider YOGA to be the STANDING OVATION. It’s the celebration of YOU, of life, of each other, of the fact that you declined the invitation, or you stopped hanging out with that energy vampire, or that you spoke your truth to your boss, or that you booked a retreat for yourself, or that you showed up to read this here today!

So now it’s Your turn, what does the practice of yoga mean to you?

**All that…..and stretching was never even mentioned! Which is why their commonalities are few and far between!

PS: I would truly love to hear from you, email me your thoughts so I can be sure to continue considering as many perspectives as possible in relation to my own truth.

We are ALWAYS an imperfectly, PERFECT, Work-in-Progress.

What would it be like to enjoy ourselves?


-Andrea Dawn

Andrea Behler