The Most Empowering Element of Yoga - YOU!

Yesterday on the subway I saw a poster with Al Bundy in it, and even though it was for 'Modern Family,' the theme song I have associated with Al since the days of braces went streaming through my head... 'Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell you brother, Can't have one without the other.'

The train arrived, and as I jumped on, singing along to my mind like a typical NYC looney, it hit me that my father would be so disheartened to learn that I associate 'Love & Marriage' with Al Bundy before I do Frank Sinatra, but furthermore, there was a tie between the lyrics, the focus of the week at I.AM.YOU. studio, and an ancient Tibetan philosophical saying.

This past week at I.AM.YOU. we have been focusing on two organs, the stomach and the spleen. They are inseperable; in Chinese Medicine they are considered a functional and energetic unit, and in Western Medicine they are co-dependent. When you eat something, the food goes to your stomach, which breaks everything down and sends it in small, digested pieces to the spleen. The spleen then makes sure that the nutrients get to the muscles, tissues, and organs of the body. Eating something without the Spleen is futile, as the nutrients of the food will never get anywhere, just like eating something without the stomach functioning is almost impossible. So which of the two is responsible for truly nourishing your body? The stomach, or the spleen?

As the train approached 8th Street, Al and Frank in the background, stomach and ppleen in the foreground, something else came to mind…one of the most intrigyuing ancient Tibetan philosophical saying. Lung Sam Chupa Chipa, or 'Your thoughts ride the winds like the rider on the horse.'

In Tibetan yoga philosophy they say that a horse and a rider are like your inner energy (winds in Tibetan traditions, prana in Indian, Chi in Chinese) and your thoughts, your thoughts and your breath. If you change your energy, you change your thoughts. If you change your thoughts, you change your energy. If you change your breath, you change your thoughts. If you change your thoughts, you change your breath.   

So does the horse ride the rider, or does the rider ride the horse? Does the stomach nourish the spleen, or the spleen nourish the body? Or is there another element missing?

I would argue, that despite Al, Frank, the organs, and the Ancient Tibetan Philosophers, that there is, in fact something less than obvious in these equations – YOU.

YOU have the power to control both, to drive both, and most of all, to create both. You are the force of YOU. You are You. Rider, horse, energy, breath, nourishment. It is just up to you to find it, to find you. Which is one of the most empowering elements of yoga, true yoga -- it is YOU.  

Lauren Imparato

Founder & CEO, I.AM.YOU.
Lauren Imparato — author of RETOX and one of the "100 Women in Wellness to Watch" and Elle’s "This is 30" — resigned her job as a vice president on the Wall Street trading floors in 2009 to launch I.AM.YOU, a wellness lifestyle company based on yoga, nourishment and music. In NYC and across the globe, she is renowned for her straight up, real approach to wellness and life. Imparato’s yoga classes are known for their attention to anatomy, sweat and tradition within the chaotic modern lives we lead, and are always paired with signature MusicMixes including genres like rock, salsa, jazz, hip hop and more. She has been featured in Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Elle, New York Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Self, The Financial Times, Bloomberg News, CNN and countless others and writes for MindBodyGreen, PositiveMed and her own blog with a social media following of over 250,000. Imparato has led I.AM.YOU. classes for tens of thousands of people in Spain, Cannes Film Festival, Ibiza Opening Weekend and, most recently, all of Times Square and the great lawn of Central Park. She graduated from Princeton University.
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Lauren Imparato

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