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Yoga and Spirituality
by Dana Layon, ERYT
NW Women’s Journal

 

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Spirituality can be defined as a sense of connection to something greater than oneself, which includes an emotional experience of religious awe and reverence. Equally important, spirituality influences physical and psychological health.


Cultural historian and yogi, William Irwin Thompson once said, “Religion is not identical with spirituality; rather religion is the form spirituality takes in civilization”.


Yoga is not a religion but it can be the most powerful spiritual journey you may ever take in your life. It is a personal practice which brings us closer to our spirit, our inner guide, our intuition, our emotional and spiritual self. By quieting the mind, we hear the most.


In its simplest form yoga means union: to unite – bringing mind, body and spirit together. To be present in every moment – whatever it is we are doing: walking our dog, or playing with our kids. Each of us arrives with different intentions: peace, empowerment, strength, guidance or just a great stretch. We come to class, free of distraction and honor our personal intentions for one hour, ultimately connecting with our spirit.


Most often, we are too busy to unlock the potential of our mind and spirit. How do we feel? What are we thinking? What is important to us? These thoughts can become overwhelming without deeper examination. We come to yoga to slow down – to breathe deep and focus inward to evaluate.


Yoga can bring us closer to our religion through spiritual contemplation if that is our intention. However, yoga can also create openness in our hamstrings that we have never felt before. Yoga can introduce us to the people in our community – creating new relationships. It can make us physically stronger through sun salutations, warrior poses, plank and downward facing dog. Yoga can help reduce our stress and increase our immunity. Yoga can help relieve all over body pain resulting from chronic illness such as arthritis, insomnia and fibormyalgia. It can also help people going through cancer treatments, recovering from a stroke or dealing with cardio vascular issues.


In our Western World, we tend to dismiss these healing modalities that have been around for thousands of years. Yoga, massage, acupuncture, reiki, reflexology, meditation: they all have merit in healing. They have helped to heal the sick and comfort those with terminal illness. They have helped people become stronger physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.


Come to yoga with your own personal intention. Erase the misconception that is a religion. Accept that it can elevate your sense self through spiritual meditation. For those of you who already do this – hoorah for you! You have found a key to spiritual and emotional health. For those of you who are not quite there yet, give it a try. What do you have to lose?

 

Have a comment or question? Visit our Yoga Forum to start or join a conversation.

 

Copyright © 2009, Dana Layon. All rights reserved. No part of this program, manual or book may be reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means electronically, mechanically or other means without express, written permission from the publisher.

 

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About the Author

 

Dana Layon, E-RYT, began practicing Iyengar Yoga in 1997 and then Prenatal Yoga during her first pregnancy in 2002. In 2003, she was introduced to Vinyasa “Flow” Yoga, a westernized style of yoga guiding movement with breath. She has never gone back to traditional exercise because of the overall benefits she realizes with a dedicated yoga practice.

 

Currently her main program is her Zen Flow Yoga School nationally accredited with the Yoga Alliance. The school offers a 10 month program that educates aspiring teachers how to help others realize all the benefits of yoga. The course includes teaching methodology and technique, postural alignment, yogic philosophy, anatomy and the business of teaching yoga.

 

Dana is also available to speak on a myriad of wellness topics including Finding Your Passion In Life; Benefits of Meditation; Living Your Optimal Life; Making Time for Your Health; Live Long and Light: do YOGA. She currently holds monthly, life transforming, educational workshops in Vancouver, Washington and is available for speaking engagements nationwide. See the Workshops page of her site for more information.

 

She leads Spiritual Warrior Retreats twice a year – geared toward women empowerment and unity.

 

She teaches Zen Flow 5 times per week; prenatal classes once a week and kids yoga twice a week, offering yoga and life virtues to children ages 3-10.

 

Her books, Surviving the Human Experience with Spiritual Intention and Om (AUM) will both be published by November 2010.

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