2,100 Asanas: The Complete Yoga Poses (2015)
A MESSAGE FROM MR. YOGA
The ultimate goal of yoga is self-realization. You do not need to go to the mountaintop to find it or pay a teacher to show you the way. There are currencies that we exchange with one another that are much more valuable than money: kindness, selflessness, being one part of the greater good. Nor do you need to look outside yourself. If you have an open mind, a sincere desire to learn and to apply that knowledge on a daily basis, and the commitment to follow through on what you’ve begun, you can achieve self-realization.
Self-realization is the knowledge that we sentient beings are interconnected and that what we think, say, and do affects those around us. Burdened by the pressures and demands that exist outside of ourselves—of our jobs, bills, desire for status and for material possessions—we forget this. Self-realization is the ability to achieve freedom from these demands and to know that true happiness comes from fulfilling our own potential and from lifting up those around us without the thought of self-gain. Dedicating yourself to the regular practice of yoga can help bring you back to this place.
Yoga is, indeed, an excellent form of exercise that carries with it many immediate and long-term physical benefits from improved flexibility to stronger muscles and bones. However, yoga is not just about moving through the poses. Mindfulness plays an essential part in any dedicated yoga practice. If performed properly, yoga quiets the mind of all distracting thoughts from the outside world (chittavritti, meaning mind chatter), bringing you to a place of peace within. In turn, being mindful of your thoughts will allow you to be mindful of, and truly connected with, your body, thus completing the cycle of mental and physical health that will allow you to enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer.
For the past eleven years, I have dedicated my life to yoga, teaching an average of twenty-five classes seven days a week. I have done this to make a difference in the lives of my students. Now it’s my pleasure to share this passion and dedication with you.