I enjoy variety in my exercise routine, so I’ve done a little of everything – lifting, running, kickboxing, spinning. I don’t actually love any of these things. I just know they are good for me and I like how I feel afterwards. The one exercise that I do enjoy is yoga. It feels great to stretch my body and quiet my mind. But on busy weeks when I have limited time to get my workouts in, yoga always used to be the first thing to go. It just felt too indulgent. For some reason I had this mindset that if I wasn’t sweating and panting, I wasn’t doing enough.
Then an opportunity to participate in a yoga teacher training fell into my path. I was so curious about this ancient practice that somehow left me feeling peaceful, nourished and whole. I expected the training to focus on teaching the typical yoga class – poses, postures, everything physical. Instead, I was surprised to learn those things were only a drop in the ocean that is yoga. There was so much more philosophy and spirituality that I hadn’t anticipated. It was also what I truly needed.
What I’ve come to realize is that I have spiritual needs that were not being met. It’s why at times I still felt drained after taking care of my physical, mental, and even emotional needs. I’ve always considered myself a spiritual person but since religion never quite felt right for me, I never developed a spiritual practice. Then, as I deepened my yoga practice beyond the physical poses to breathing techniques, meditation, and philosophy, I learned to nourish a spiritual need that I didn’t even know I was missing.
I once heard someone ask “Are you a human doing or a human being?” There is more to being human than our ability to get things done. “Being” is about our essence. Who we are at the core. Our ability to dream, hope, imagine, and create. There is something special and even magical about being human. To me, that is proof that spirituality is real thing that needs to be nourished.
If you’re uncertain that spirituality is important to you or that a spiritual practice is what you need, here are a few things you can try to test the waters:
- Think of lucky chances and coincidences that have happened in your life. What factors had to fall into place for those things to have occurred?
- Recall the last time you were awe-struck. Sit with that memory for a minute. Then notice the sensations in your body. What about that feeling do you wish you could carry with you?
- Think of a few loved ones and all the little differences between them that make them special or unique. What is it that you appreciate and how do they shape you?
If any of those exercises leave you feeling warm, tingly, or any other touchy-feely type of way, imagine what a spiritual practice could do for you.