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What I Learned at Yoga Day Camp – Lesson 1

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Tree PoseWell, it wasn’t exactly camp, but I did recently attend a yoga workshop, “From Self-Image to Self-Discovery through the Zero Stress Yoga Nidra Zone,” with Gurudev Shri Amritji, who is recognized as one of the pioneers of the authentic teachings of yoga in the West. The workshop was a weekend event, and although I only could attend on Saturday, it was a great privilege to listen to and learn from Gurudev.

I was on a quest to enter the zero-stress zone through yoga and meditation, and I’m happy to say that I did fulfill my goal. Along the way I also picked up a few nuggets of wisdom that I would like to share.

While taking us through yoga poses, Gurudev asked us to lose the fear and breathe deeply into the poses. We were doing Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), a pose that I used to hate, because my legs and lower back are tight. I feel like I can barely get by back down an inch, and there is no way I’m ever going to reach my toes. Why did it always look so easy? I didn’t realize it, but I guess I was fearful of the pose, my awkward inflexibility, and the uncomfortable stretch it provided. When I thought about losing the fear while I breathed deeply, I slowly felt myself relaxing into the pose. By stopping my normal negative reaction to the pose, it allowed me to focus instead on my body, my breathing, and how to get comfortable in the pose while also going deeper into it.

We were in the pose for a long time—I mean an abnormally long time in yoga standards—and I should have been going nuts, ready to cuss out the instructor and give up. But Gurudev’s voice was soothing as he led us deeper into the pose, and I found myself loving Paschimottanasana for the very first time in my yoga practice! Before we ended the pose, I opened my eyes, and my hands were closer to my toes than they had ever been.

Why was I bringing negativity and fear into my yoga practice? That stuff is no longer welcome!

Let go of your negative perceptions, lose the fear, breath, and open your mind to the possibilities. I can’t wait to apply this mantra both on and off the yoga mat.

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