10 Inspiring Quotes I Heard While Practicing Yoga
Lately in the yoga community, there's been a lot of talk about "what a yoga teacher should never say in class." While it's absolutely important to nit-pick certain anatomical cues and make sure all instructions regarding students' safety are on point, this constant analysis can leave newer, and even seasoned yoga teachers feeling a little on edge.
Let's not forget that some of the best, most articulate and inspiring words we've ever heard were often spoken in the context of a yoga class. I have a journal that I take with me almost everywhere, and over the years I've scribbled down words that have struck a chord in my soul. Some of them were spoken by famous yoga teachers I've practiced with; others are words of wisdom relayed by some of the most notable healers of our time; and some are just bits of beauty that have poured forth in moments of casual banter. All are, without a doubt, inspiring words to carry with us as a reminder that when judgment ceases, love and personal development have a chance to prevail.
1. “True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.” — Aadil Palkhivala
2. “Change is not only inevitable, but always happening. When you truly embrace this concept of change being constant, the only thing left to do is grow, detach, venture inwards, touch the spirit and find your source — the one responsible for keeping you grounded through the ever-changing seasons of life.” — Julie Weiland
3. “Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” — Osho
4. "Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our hearts and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” — Rolf Gates
5. “If you choose to see everything as a miracle, then where you are right now is perfect. There is nowhere to run to; there is nothing else to do except be in this moment and allow what is to be. From that place of radical acceptance, major change can happen. The first step in any transformational experience is acceptance and surrender to the present moment, the way that it is. From that place we have the awareness, humility and power to change what is.” — Mastin Kipp
6. “In meditation and in our daily lives there are three qualities that we can nurture, cultivate, and bring out. We already possess these, but they can be ripened: precision, gentleness, and the ability to let go.” — Pema Chodron
7. “The chakras are very intelligent – they are like the software of the whole computer body.” — Dharma Mittra
8. "Follow your nature. The practice is really about uncovering your own pose; we have great respect for our teachers, but unless we can uncover our own pose in the moment, it's not practice — it's mimicry. Rest deeply in Savasana every day. Always enter that pratyahara (withdrawn state) every day. And just enjoy yourself. For many years I mistook discipline as ambition. Now I believe it to be more about consistency. Do get on the mat. Practice and life are not that different." — Judith Hanson Lasater
9. “When you inhale, you are taking the strength from God. When you exhale, it represents the service you are giving to the world.” — B.K.S. Iyengar
10. “There will always be people who can do it better than you, but that's a good thing! Start to see competition as inspiration — without envy.” — Kathryn Budig
*Bonus: Namaste. — Possibly the most beautiful word ever said in yoga. There are many interpretations, my favorite being: "The divine light in me bows to the divine light in you."
Simple, sweet and timeless. Just like the practice itself!
What's the most inspiring thing you've overheard in yoga?
Mandy Burstein is a yoga instructor and writer based in La Jolla, California. Through yoga and writing, she passionately empowers people to become the best version of themselves, both on and off the mat. Mandy teaches Vinyasa Flow, Restorative Yoga and Stand-up Paddleboard Yoga, and coordinates international yoga retreats. Her next retreat is taking place January 2015 in beautiful Sayulita, Mexico - more details here.
To follow her movement towards a healthier and happier world, visit her blog The Zen Girl Chronicles and connect with Mandy on Facebook and instagram @zengirlmandy.