No Yoga

Along the way in Costa Rica, a funny man, upon learning that I am a yoga practitioner, said to me “lately I’ve been doing a lot of this new thing, it’s called noga. Have you heard of it?”

“No. what’s that?” I replied

“It’s cool, I do absolutely no yoga for about an hour every morning and then again in the evening.”

We laughed and it’s become a running joke. I especially appreciate it now, as I’m going through a time where my asana practice is waning.

Every yoga practice always has its ups and downs and is forever in flux, just as we are. Over the past 10 years I have explored many facets of the yoga spectrum, going through chapters of practicing everything from trendy hot yoga to rigid traditional ashtanga to dancey flowy vinyasa to deep restorative and yoga for surf. It’s ALL GOOD. Each one has taught me infinite lessons about my body and mind.

Before I moved to Costa Rica my asana practice was my primary form of physical exercise. When I arrived from chilly Canada to the heat and humidity of the jungle the first 6 months or so was a major adjustment period. My body was not accustomed to the environment and practicing vigorous vinyasas and strong standing postures felt impossible at times. I felt heavy and dense and just wanted to lay on the floor with my legs up.

I remained physically active, hiking and surfing and doing Thai Massage everyday whipped me into the best shape and got me stronger than I’ve been in my whole life. My yoga practices were still important to me, although I felt much less inclined to perform postures. I sat with my breath and thoughts and listened deeply to the sounds of the jungle and the vibrations in my heart. I read my books and took the lessons of the eight-limbed path with me to everything I did. But I felt absolutely no need to attempt handstands or fancy poses that seemed important to achieve in my practice in the past.

Gradually I came to feel that I was actually doing yoga all the time. I’m doing it right now as I write. Fully engrossed in the moment, open and aware. Since yoga simply means 'connection', I've come to consider anytime that I feel connected to myself and life to be living yoga. Of course at times I falter, and get caught up in emotions and react to challenges and fear as we all do. Always attempting to learn a lesson from every situation and person I come across.

I’ll never not be in practice, physically, mentally and spiritually. Nothing and no one can take your spirit (your unchanging inner light) from you. Whether you practice asana for 2 hours a day or have a heavy regiment of noga, know that what you’re doing matters and is positive as long as your intentions are so. Noga or Yoga, it’s all the same love and light.