This is my article printed in the Weekly Record Herald on April 15, 2012.
Hi, my name is Tammy Shellhaas. I am a yoga instructor/personal trainer and I would like you to join me on a journey to challenge your mind, body, and soul. Every other week we will explore a new aspect of a healthy lifestyle. My hope is to offer new information, or a new perspective to what you already know, or reintroduce an idea that may have been forgotten. So, let’s get started…
In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali, a second-century philosopher and yogi, summarizes the guidelines or eight limbs for ashtanga (asha=eight, anga=limb) yoga. The limbs are meant as guidelines on how to live a meaningful life with purpose. The limbs provide help in relationships, interactions with the world, positive thought and actions, yoga postures, breathing practices, meditation and concentration, and, finally, lead to Samadhi, or enlightment. Wow, I want to practice and achieve all those things, but I really want to jump straight to becoming enlightened and find my True Self. Nice try. There is no short cut to achieving Samadhi. Samadhi cannot be taught or practiced. It is obtained.
So, I will be honest. I have not reached enlightment, but I do see glimpses of my True Self at times. I saw a peak at my True Self with each birth of my two beautiful children. My husband, John, reaches for my hand when taking a walk – another peak. I tear-up when I hear Somewhere Over the Rainbow. (I don’t know why, but I do. I love that song.) Peak. I practiced, practiced, and practiced the Crow yoga pose. (Crow is a balancing pose. Both hands are on the floor, bent knees are positioned on the backs of the upper arms, and toes lift off the floor to balance on the hands.) Then, one day, my body “gracefully” eased into Crow. Peak!
I have reduced the meaning of Samadhi to a very basic level. As you can see, I am in the early stages of my journey. A late bloomer, you might say. The exciting part of this journey is, as I practice all eight limbs of yoga, the glimpses of my True Self are peaking through more often. I am in wonder of how my life has changed since starting this path. Each day brings surprises. I need to share what I learn on this journey with others. I cannot keep it to myself. My hope is that you find a peak at your True Self.
Growth does not come from one perspective. To achieve a healthy lifestyle, you must do more than concentrate on exercise alone. Diet changes will enhance your wellbeing, but it alone is not healthy. Let’s not forget the soul or spirit. It needs nurturing as well. So, here are a few mind (diet) – body (exercise) – soul (mental) challenges for you to try.
Mind: Try a new vegetable.
Body: Every stoplight/stop sign, contract your abs and hold, until you start moving again.
Soul: Stop saying, “I wish” and start saying, “I will”.
I would love to hear from you. Email: Tammy@TammYoga.com
Namaste (The spirit in me respects the spirit in you.)