Up until recently, my interest in yoga was purely the physical practice, the Asana, and I shied away from any aspect that might involve spirituality or embracing a religion. Even as a young girl, I took issue with organized religion--so many horrible deeds have been committed in the name of God, and many followers shun entire races, sexual orientations, nonbelievers, simply because their religion tells them it is right or wrong. Not to mention, children are often taught what to believe before they have a chance to figure things out on their own. All these years, I've struggled to call myself an Atheist because I didn't want to have those difficult religious discussions; I didn't want people to try to convert me. I was as stubborn as the believers.
I thought I would go through my 200 hour yoga teacher training, learn a little about the spirituality and beliefs behind the practice, and go on my way to teach power yoga and vinyasa classes. In just one weekend with Benjamin and Radha, I realized the error of my closed-mindedness. I've been selling myself short on so much of what makes up yoga. Coming at it from a strictly scientific way--looking at the body as muscles and bones to stretch and realign--and completely disregarding the soul. I've only been practicing yoga for a couple years, but I was ignoring how much it was impacting me beyond the physical. Yoga calming me every day, on and off the mat. It was bringing me clarity in how I treated others, and balance in how I took care of my physical body. I don't need to pin down exactly what it is I believe in, and I don't need to call it God. Yoga is my religion-- it has opened my mind to the possibility of embracing a higher power.