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  • Writer's picturemegna paula

yoga in nyc

How do we embody the eightfold path of yoga as we live our fullest lives in New York City? We blur the lines between practice and not-practice, we realize that life on the mat is a microcosm of life in the city, that the one who chooses every aspect of our experience is none other than you, than me.

When we open our minds beyond our mats in this way, we realize what it is to be in but not of the world, unbound by the rules and parameters that we once felt bound to. In this state of freedom, we carry the practice in every action. Having learned to imbue our breath with intention, we find that there is no other way to live. All that we do, we do with characteristic style, grace, power.

The yoga begins as a scheduled commitment, becomes a piece of the day we look forward to, then cannot live without, then a thing of curiosity, folded into our being the way a new tattoo stays sharp, clear, a sure and chosen enhancement of our natural skin.

The seeker realizes that here is what we seek. The time is now, there is no deeper meaning than the depth of fully experiencing what is here, what is now. We reconnect to what we were seeking all along, that inside place that not only animates us but is also home, the place of peace, of rest, of center.

And as we care for our inner lives, we naturally extend our care, our intention, our way of lightly touching the world. When we carry home and peace within ourselves, we are at home and at peace everywhere. The millions of people on the streets are our extended family.

The city is naturally flowing in this direction of higher consciousness. The slowed down pace of the pandemic, the turnover of residents of the city, the resurrection of our collective courage— we are more aware than ever that the nature of the city is inseparable from the energy we all share.

The shop owners, store clerks, community gardeners of the East Village— these people are my adopted family. The farm hands and local farm owners upstate, too, are family to me. It matters to me that I can hug the people who grew the plums that just came into season. It matters to me that the cafe owner set up a table for me to write this blog post, kissed my cheek, then ran back in to brew coffee for neighbors.

My clients, my students, then, are my inner circle. With them, I speak the truest language I know.

Yoga is life. And with this understanding, teaching yoga is a lofty dream, a highest calling. I wake daily at dawn to work that dreamy reality. Stepping out onto the terrace, I send silent greetings to the vast expanse of the sky, the sun that pulls our planet into steady warmth, cycles of changes. Then I step onto my mat for hours, giving in to the beginning of what will never end: the practice of yoga.

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