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As I reflect on International Yoga Day I remember when there wasn’t one. I remember when we had just two yoga studios in all of Tampa and yoga was not a well known thing. Now a days it seems there is a local yoga studio in every neighborhood along with the million dollar sales of yoga gear and accouterments. Amidst the money making racket that is the business of yoga, I am happy that people are practicing yoga! So, how did this yoga thing get so big? What is it that keeps people coming back to the mat again and again?

Yoga begins as a physical practice. The work is at the muscular level and it’s hard! This is where physical transformation begins. The first quest of Iyengar Yoga is to stabilize the body. The body becomes the laboratory to observe the mind. It also sharpens our neuropathways from brain to muscles creating healthier movement patterns. Iyengar yoga ensures your growing the intelligence of every single muscle over time while practicing the poses.

The 2nd quest is the internal. As a yoga teacher for almost 10 years now once the body is stable from consistent practice I begin to see a change in behavioral patterns, emotional imbalances level out, the way students react (or don’t!) to life changes. They begin to let go more deeply. They begin to look inward and find out what isn’t serving them or why they aren’t truly happy. They start making changes.

No one comes to yoga realizing the impact it can make on their lives but being a witness of it is one of the most rewarding parts of my work. Every yoga posture works on an emotional level as well as with certain organs. If I want to calm the class down I will give out certain poses. If I want to wake them up I’ll give out other poses. The postures can be tailored to effect not only the body but the mental state. It is highly effective.

This is why I believe the father of modern day yoga B.K.S Iyengar said “words cannot convey the value of yoga; it has to be experienced.”

Talking about it gives you an idea. Experiencing it gives you a raw and pure experience. Every day you practice the experience varies. However, the effects of yoga on the body, mind and soul keep building and true transformation of a person occurs with sustained practice.  I always say, “yoga made me a better woman.” And it did. It also woke me up to live the most fulfilled life possible.

Curious to try this yoga thing out? Great place to start is our $5 donation based class every Saturday 9-10:30am. Learn the nuts and bolts of Iyengar yoga and let yoga take you on the journey from the periphery to the core and back again.  All you need to do is show up!

Written by Dina Georgoulis