On Strength and Grace in Yoga and in Life

To reflect on inner strength from a yogic perspective, we want to consider all the ways we yoke our practice, so that we look from the angles of physical strength, emotional stability, and spiritual steadfastness. We can find that our understanding of Santosa (pronounced Sahn – toe – sha), the Niyama (“rules” for self-observance), which means contentment, holds the key to offering us another facet for contemplation on strength and grace.

When we consider the meaning of strength, what typically comes to mind is physical strength. We can appreciate how consistent movement from tasks of everyday living (home care, gardening, work related movement, …) as well as what we do for exercise (asana, walking, running, swimming,…) lend to the resilience of the physical structures of the body. We can appreciate how conditioned athletes make their sport look easy as we observe their refined performances. We can say that graceful movement shows great underlying physical strength, and thus we are inspired not just by the difficult feats, but also in recognizing the dedicated investment of time and practice.

If we look a little deeper, past the physical body, we can appreciate that being emotionally strong also appears with grace – with graceful ways like not being quick to react, like with anger or with jumping to conclusions, or being patient, having more positive outlook, putting others first, looking at the bigger picture, being open to the perspective of others,…

To look a little deeper and consider what we mean as spiritual strength, we can appreciate that having a solid faith practice gives us a strong foundation for our entire outlook on life. Man’s big question, “why am I here?” resides at this deeper level of understanding ourselves (Svadhaya, self-study, the 4th Niyama)) and is grounded in our spiritual practice, which needs our dedication to being consistent while spending time with Isvara Pranidhana, (Devotion to God, the 5th Niyama) spiritual study, for the sake of growth. Our spiritual strength also shows up in our graceful ways like living from the lens of gratitude, having faith in a Higher Power/God, accepting as well as embracing change, as our view of life unfolding is then more readily anchored to our faith.

We can look through the koshas, the five layers of the body, to better understand inner strength and along the way we will be able to also see that grace shows strength and aligns with contentment. The stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves, and the habits that we keep may not be tied to reality. As we understand ourselves better, we will find that we are stronger than we think and as these stories we tell ourselves begin to change, new habits and new outlook develop as a result. Strength shows up as grace and yields contentment, a sense of ease as well as a sense of peace. The requirement is consistent practice, in every way possible: self study with practices that keep body, mind and spirit strong. Come join our Essential Yoga Practice tribe as we journey toward new understanding using yoga, ayurveda, and aromatherapy! Follow us on Social media, subscribe to our blog, buy our book and DVD, and reach out to us with questions on essential oils and aromatherapy!

Yoga practice suggestions for this week: The strengthening Sequence from our DVD – buy it HERE. Essential oils to add to your practice: Tree oils like Siberian Fir, Frankincense and Arborvitae Enjoy your practice!