Know Your Why

Chaturanga Dandasana is responsible for changing the way I practice yoga and leading me to begin to study more about the roots of yoga.

I came to yoga in my late 40’s to help heal my body after years of misusing my body through incorrect alignment, misuse of muscles and storing emotions rather than feel them. I had bulging discs. I was in terrible pain and having a hard time finding help beyond a shot to ease the pain. I passed on the shot as it did not address the problem, it just masked. I was a wreck when I walked into the Baptiste Yoga studio. Baptiste is a hot, power practice that offers self-reflection opportunities. This is an intense physical practice with many Chaturangas used as a transition and to build heat. One only has so many of them in their shoulders and in five years I was running out of capacity. 

Inevitably I became a yoga teacher. One of the reoccurring themes in my former Baptiste practice was know your why.  I know my why as I move forward with yoga. I want to help others heal. I want to practice and teach yoga that connects mind, body and spirit. I want to teach and practice yoga as a prayer and a meditation. I want to teach yoga for EVERY BODY. I want to be are part of an ancient practice in a way that is true to the foundations and not a cultural appropriation. I want to keep learning about this practice.

While physical, yoga is not a workout. It is not about confusing the feeling after a good class as “love and light.” Yoga is not extreme poses or a specific logo on the back waistband of a pair of yoga leggings. The best comment I ever received from a student acknowledged that while there was a physical aspect to my classes, but she appreciated how I wove mental wellbeing and spirituality into my classes.

This sacred practice is over 5,000 years old. I am not inventing anything. I owe it to the practice and my students to incorporate the eight limbs of yoga; to continue to learn the history; to explore the different styles to understand where yoga came from and why.

Note: While I wrote this to enter a contest on @susannabarkataki on Instagram, I chose to post this because, well, this blog is call The Yoga Cowgirl. Susanna has just released a book, “Embrace Yoga’s Roots”. Written by a South Asian, this book explores the ancient wisdom and traditions of yoga. If you are interested, please check out her Instagram. And there will be more yoga coming from me.

10 thoughts on “Know Your Why

  1. Ally Bean says:

    I love that saying. I try to know my *why* all the time. My favorite saying from a yoga class is from years ago. The teacher taught us to say: “well, isn’t that interesting?” It could be my mantra anymore, both when moving my body and when dealing with people.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ladysag77 says:

    Staying curious fuels my life force energy and yoga allows me to stretch that capacity to its fullest extent. I have practiced for 20 years now and coming from formal ballet training I had to get a handle on myself straight away about some things that I didn’t like yet needed to examine. That’s why I love yoga. It’s what I learn about myself on the mat, I can take off of it and integrate back into the world. I also really appreciate how you called out the cultural appropriation that waters down the meaning and essence of yoga. We in the West have murdered a ton of culture 🤔 It is a mind, body and spirit connection for EVERY body. I have really gotten to know myself through my practice. Grounded, released, attuned, attuned, strengthened….all on the inside emotionally. Some of the best classes leave me in a puddle of tears on the floor in a full on release because I’ve been holding onto too much. It’s in the flow of it all where I find my center and balance again🧘‍♀️ These are my whys. I ❤ how you articulated yours my dear🙏

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sarah Davis says:

      Thank you!
      I once freaked out some random dude next to my by sobbing in Savasana. I’ve also had visions.
      The last eight months have been a time of learning and growth. I now see how I have been part of a system that suppresses brown people. I now see cultural appropriation more fully. I no longer want to be a part of either system.


      • Ladysag77 says:

        That’s amazing and so beautiful my dear. Yes, so many have been pulled into systems that don’t truly align with their natural spirit. That’s what awakening is, it’s aligning ourselves with our souls. I live 100% from my soul now and my purpose. I’ve pulled myself out of the Matrix. Many of us are, we’re remembering. This is the New Earth we are creating. These systems are oppressive and hurtful. We are all connected with love and that’s why my mission is to help heal humanity one heart at a time through my writing and shamanic healing. It’s a humbling honor to share my gifts. My entire life none of what I was feeling and understanding in others made sense. Now that I’m a shaman it does.

        Liked by 2 people

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