Amy Champ took the Wanderlust Voyager Immersion program at Wanderlust Squaw Valley and wrote about her experiences. To learn more about the Wanderlust Yoga Teacher Training program, click here.
• • •
Most of us first came to yoga in a studio. It was something that made our minds and bodies feel really, really good. As a form that combines physical rigor with relaxation, yoga gives off an almost addictive quality after just a few classes. We are learning to ground and center ourselves, while also reaching and lifting to challenge ourselves.
But how do you take it further?
Yoga is incredibly effective, but it’s also easy after some time to slip into a rut, doing the same old thing, losing the flavor and spice of our practice. At this place, yoga is actually asking us to move to a higher level. There comes a time for each of us to take our practice further, to deepen what we are looking for when we do yoga.
It may be because of an inspiring teacher who you look up to, or an intriguing part of yoga philosophy, or an elated feeling you had in class that makes you think–‘Hey, maybe there’s more to this.’
It’s ironic, but even with so many possibilities, the best way to go deeper into yoga is to focus. It’s true that we are all evolving gradually, and that everything we go through is a lesson. But to really challenge ourselves and grow into a higher version of who we are, we have to pinpoint what it is we are learning and “work with it” in a guided way, hopefully with the help of your yoga teacher.
Going Deeper Guided Exercise
Get onto your yoga mat on all fours. Start to move the spine up, contracting into Cat and falling to the earth into Cow. Move your head to the right and look back to the hips. Now turn your head to the left and look back to the left side. Keep repeating this motion, until it all becomes one fluid movement. Let the movements flow into each other.
As you begin to create your own rhythm, start to softly hum, toning a song you have never heard before. If you find words, follow them, continuing to move. Try to find the words for where your next level of growth lies.
Several images or feelings may arise. Try to pay attention to the one that comes back. What is the strongest feeling here? Can you pinpoint one word to focus on? Where is your yoga path taking you?
Examples of words coming through could be:
• Meditation and breathing
• Chanting and praying
• More adventure trips
• Home practice
• Rest and relaxation
Write your Focus Words down on a nice, brightly colored sheet of paper and put it somewhere you can see it every day–on your mirror, over the sink or in your wallet.
We are all human. Everyone is here just figuring it out as we go along, but here’s a secret: Really Special things begin to happen when we focus. Like a cauldron or a magic potion, when we mix together the right ingredients, amazing things happen!! So what have you got to lose? Focus on your word and watch the yogic magic unfold.
Dr. Amy Champ is a scholar, yogini and writer dedicated to all the simple things in life. Studying yoga and ordinary people, her work is motivated by supporting women’s health and bringing people together in community.