There have been a lot of changes in the Salt Lake City yoga community over the past year or two. Some studios have closed and others have opened. Some long-time and much loved yoga teachers were drawn to make personal changes and either left the area or chose to take a break from teaching. New yoga instructors continue to appear as many local training programs attract and graduate their students.
A number of questions came to mind as a result of the changes described above. For example: Where do I want to practice yoga and with whom? Would a more vigorous asana practice serve me or is there a more benefit in focusing on pranayama and meditation? Do I need to or even want to practice asana at a studio? I realized that each question represented an opportunity to choose a different experience. I might not have considered these opportunities for changing my experience if those external changes hadn’t occurred.
A lot of what we do when we practice yoga is gather in a large room with other people and with the help of an instructor, challenge ourselves to do things that we were previously unable to do. The emphasis often seems to be on techniques that affect the physical body. But the process of challenging the body also requires a degree of mental focus, and the will to remain calm and find a level of inner stillness even when we experience discomfort. So, mental and emotional effects and changes in how we experience discomfort are also likely to occur. And that’s one of the greatest benefits of yoga – recognizing the opportunity to change our inner experience and then changing it if we choose to.