3 Ways Your Costume Can Teach You Yoga
What are you going to be for Halloween?
This week, I challenge you to consider the following concepts as they relate to yoga and costumes.
1. You Always Have Choices
In a yoga class, we have options. We can stay in Downward Facing Dog, or come down to Child’s Pose if we need to rest. We can lower through Charturanga with our knees up or down. Further, we can reach our arms all the way up to the sky or bring our arms into Cactus if we have tight shoulders in tree or High Lunge. These choices help us to stay present and aware of our bodies. We want to find a place of tension and ease in each pose. We want to challenge ourselves to build a little sweat and see what we are capable of, yet also listen carefully to our body and not lead ourselves to sharp pain or injury.
Swami Rama teaches, “You are the architect of your spiritual life. Be brave. The brave alone enjoy the world.”
In the same way, we have a choice on how we want to represent ourselves through our costumes. Do you ever ask yourself,” Why did I choose that particular costume?” Does this costume lead me to be the a better version of myself, or am I doing damage or injury to my inner light?
Sometimes we want to choose a costume that exemplifies a part of us that is either hidden or needs more development. For example, if you choose a hero costume, perhaps you want more will power in your life. You want to achieve your goals and feel like anything is possible. This is a positive decision that shows your desire to love yourself and grow.
On the other hand, if you choose a vampire, zombie, devil, etc. perhaps you want to express your anger or distaste for life. If you choose a costume that stirs up fear, you are associating with your ego, your dark side. Your ego wants you to be fearful, sad, angry, and wishing harm upon others. We all have an ego, but we have a choice to go along with this voice, or listen to our inner voice of light and love. The more you associate with your dark side, the more it grows.
2. You Are Important, Nurture Your Body and Your Soul
In the physical yoga practice, we set aside time to strengthen, stretch, and balance our bodies. This time commitment places our health as a priority of high importance in our lives. In the physical practice of yoga, when we focus on the present moment and the breath moving within us, we find inner peace and calm, bringing nurturance to our deeper Self, our light.
Does your costume improve your being?
Take the time to let your costume improve your being. Highlight the positive, peaceful elements in your life. Make a list of the things you enjoy: cooking, traveling, reading, etc. For example, if you like animals or food, dress up as your favorite pet or healthy food item. Or, the costume could emphasize a side of you that everyone already knows and loves such as being silly, healthy, or bright. You could dress up as an angel to remind others to choose their light side, banana to represent a balance of fruits and vegetables in your diet, or cell phone to represent strong communication skills.
Your true Self is loving light. Let your light shine. Choose a costume that reflects the bright, positive side of you. For example, last year I was a ballerina, posing in Dancer Pose, to remind myself and others to listen to our bodies and share the joy of yoga with others.
3. Look Past the Mask to Find Community
Did you know that the word yoga translate to oneness and unity?
I encourage you to look for the connecting light in yourself and others. Community is where people begin to care about one another, and where they begin to share things that are important to one another. The Dalai Lama teaches, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
When you practice yoga outside of your own home, you begin to form a sense of community. All of these other people in this class are also there to better themselves. Your yoga community celebrates your breakthroughs and your growth. The yoga class becomes a community based on a higher purpose, a deeper meaning and a more profound goal in life, consciousness.
This forms a oneness and connection.
I continue to attend classes at Yoga One and extend the connections to other yoga classes, workshops, and retreats to develop a wider connectivity. When we can start seeing the connection that we all share with all living beings, this sense of awe brings us peace. Albert Schweitzer proclaims, “Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
This week especially, we are tempted to associate with our ego. Through the mask of our ego, our false self, we find disconnection and discontent. Our ego, associated with our dark side and loneliness, hinders us from being happy and healthy. I encourage you to find positive common ground with those that you meet and shine your light far and wide. Listen to your inner voice of consciousness that knows oneness.
Try to see past the masks and make positive connections.
Sharing Community at Yoga One
Do you want to practice Costume Yoga?
Join us this week in San Diego and wear a costume of your choice as we build community and well-being! We will try to come up with a yoga pose to represent your costume!
Sunset Sundays 4-5pm at Mission Bay Park
2688 E Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109
(we meet AT THE WATER West of the old round Visitor's Center building at I-5 and Mission Bay Dr.)
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