Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hello My Friend!

Hope this note finds you beeming like the sun, and as spacious as the vast blue sky on this glorious day!

Svadyaya is the yogic principle of 'Self-Study.' It involves reading sacred scripture, and also study of the self in all situations. More than ever I've been regarding physical yoga practice as a very ripe opportunity to study one's self, discovering that much of what 'happens' on the mat is a metaphor for life 'off the mat.'

For newer students, the sheer concentration necessary to figure out which is the left foot or where to place the right hand commands all of one's attention, a metaphorical example that one's energy has likely been scattered for quite some time. As we become more comfortable with the postures, and more confident in our ability to follow along, grace, elegance and ease are very natural expressions of the magnificent beauty of physical bodies dancing with consciousness and breath. However, I'm sure we've all confronted inner states that just don't feel graceful, elegant or easy. In the midst of a challenging sequence, we may feel ourselves thwarted by an inability to 'achieve' a depth in a pose, or irritated that the teacher isn't endorsing a deep variation of a posture, or competitive with our neighbor across the aisle. And while these seem to be very natural responses to stimuli, the dedicated yoga student is encouraged to take a step back from habitual responses - which seem obvious and normal, and instead inquire into the root causes of these reactions.

When you consider that the yoga studio is a sacred and neutral space, that the teacher is there to share personal passion for yoga with the entire class in the manner that s/he deems most appropriate given all the variables, and that the person near you also has difficulties, insecurities, and suffers dissatisfaction in life, then suddenly we're given an opportunity to witness ourselves and the unconscious motivators that are likely driving many of our actions in the world. With courage and a sense of humor, if we are willing, we have the opportunity to meet ourselves in some of our less attractive costumes. Suddenly we come face to face with our own impatience, greed, jealousy and fear, not as an opportunity to further condemn ourselves for our very humanity, but as a way to end self-deception. We can stop fooling ourselves that we're perfect and the whole rest of the world needs to change, and we can then begin, I believe, to cultivate compassion and tenderness. When you are willing to see and accept your own shadows, you will very likely find yourself more patient and accepting of other people. Harsh judgements and strong beliefs about the way things 'should' be become tempered by a deep and abiding appreciation for the way things are.

So the next time you notice your buttons getting pushed during a yoga class, create a little space between who you are and what you think/feel and notice if you gain some insight into something that had previously been a blind spot. And be grateful for this opportunity to begin to untangle who you truly are from what you perceive. Yoga is a path to freedom, and we all advance on any path one step at a time!

Following are details about some really wonderful, informative, enlightening events happening at both studios. Should you have questions, please email:, or reach me directly at

Also, in case you haven't heard yet, Lululemon is opening a showroom in Philadelphia. They make yoga and athletic apparel that is both practical and fun, and are excited about sharing their passion for good health and vitality with their customers, employees, and, now, all of Philadelphia. I've heard that their stores are AMAZING! Their grand opening is this Saturday, at 1704 Walnut Street, Suite 3F. The day is kicking off with a yoga class in the store (taught by yours truly!) from 8:30 - 9:30 am (if you'd like to participate, please RSVP to: ... the class is filling up; don't be disappointed if there's no space). at 10 am doors open for shopping, and from 5-6 pm there will be a celebratory champagne toast. Kira Licata has been quietly infiltrating the Philadelphia yoga scene for months, making friends with many students and teachers, and generating quite a buzz for their opening. If you can make it, stop by and congratulate her; she's worked very hard to make this happen!

In any case, happy breathing!

Sending Love, Light, and Laughter,

Corina Benner
Director, Wake Up Yoga, LLC

1 comment:

Crystal Singing Bowl said...

Great post. New to your blog, but you have great writing style. You had some very interesting points that I liked. Looking forward to more of your thoughts.