Ken Bell invites you to allow yoga to change your life, on and off the mat

Article written by Ken Bell

Yoga is many things to many people. You can read article after article about its benefits, but what is it really?

A set of poses or postures strung together? A workout? Is it meditation?

Everyone comes to yoga for various reasons, and some stay in yoga for very different reasons than why they initially came. Some for the workout, some searching for something they are missing, some for ego, some for exploration—the list goes on and on.

Ironically, finding my real yoga came as a direct result of teaching others.

I volunteered at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and taught yoga to clients there for more than 10 years. Those I have taught have nothing to prove, are at the lowest point in their lives, and have nothing to gain by being anything but authentic and raw.

On any given day, I received great thanks and compliments for coming out, for teaching, for sharing my knowledge and skills. What they didn’t understand is they taught me more about myself, more about life, more about living authentically and true to my soul’s expression than they could possibly imagine. What I gave to them is so very minuscule compared to what they gave me.

Through them, I confronted so many of my own demons. Through them and their vulnerability, I saw my ego, my closed-off self, and my self-imposed inadequacies. Because of them, my own self-love comes from places I never knew existed.

Society speaks a lot about self-love, but if we are fearful of it, fearful of being exposed, fearful of someone seeing our flaws, then I believe we can never truly experience love. Unconditional love requires acceptance of ourselves.

For the rehab clients I taught, their concern isn’t about what to wear to class or how they look in a pose, their greatest concern is getting through the day intact. Making it to the next moment without tearing themselves apart. Their struggle is to be whole and to be accepting of themselves. For me and my practice, that is what true yoga is all about.

One of the most fundamental aspects of yoga, and one of its true underlying purposes is reflection. It is a reflection of where you are right now. It is a reflection of what you choose to carry with you throughout your day. It is a reflection of what you want to be.

Yoga is not about the “perfect” pose—the yoga I am speaking of is in your soul.

The yoga of your soul allows you to access your true self. It is about giving up your outside layers and stripping away all the accumulated stuff we carry around. You have to become comfortable with exposing yourselves on your mat in your own little world.  That allows us to expose our very soul on our mat for that short period of time in the hopes that feeling can help us transform our life off the mat, to help us open up to a little more compassion, a little more love, and a little more vulnerability.

As I say in my studio, true yoga allows you to release the body and access the mind. To release the mind and access the heart. To release the heart and access your soul.

I have heard people say that a miracle is simply a change in perception. Well, the miracle of yoga is truly that. Next time you are on your mat, I invite you—if even for just a moment—let the ego go, let the self-loathing go, let the comparisons go, and just be in your soul and dream of what miracles could unfold.

Ready to get started or go deeper in your practice? Connect with Ken about his private one-on-one yoga sessions here.


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