What Is Your Yoga?


“It’s not the asanas that will
change your life. It’s the courage you bring to your practice that
will change your life.”

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

I froze mid-leg swing when I heard that
while watching her DVD last night.

It’s intriguing for several reasons:

  1. There are so many kinds of yoga and such enormous variation in practices that it’s hard to
    imagine we’re related at all on a physical level. And yet I call
    myself a yogi and I consider myself part of your family whether
    you’re doing Ashtanga, Bikram, Anusara, or Laughter Yoga.
    Something must connect us underneath and beyond the asanas. Maybe
    courage is a part of that.

  2. I’ve been reading the Yoga
    Sutra. It seems to me that Patanjali wouldn’t recognize what we
    call yoga, so removed is it from his description of yoga 2,000 years
    ago. He was a meditation guy first and foremost, if I’m reading
    correctly. We’ve skewed pretty heavily in the direction of instructors with head mikes, Luluwhatever design, and the whole buff thing since then. I don’t see
    a problem with this, but it makes me wonder what each of us would
    write in our own practice manual for yoga. Would courage be a part
    of it?

  3. Despite being enamored of my
    physical practice, my interest is sustained by the non-physical side
    of yoga. I love the exploration of my relationship to both my heart and to the cosmos, as woo-woo as that might sound. That’s why I’m not still playing squash.

Is it about courage? I suppose a part
of it is.

To me, it feels as though I entered
this huge house called yoga and, exploring it room by room, I find
that every wall is covered with mirrors. So that everywhere I look, I
see myself, my ego and personality and all their resistance, and in
brief flashes, my huge-as-the-solar-system Self, the spirit I have always been, the one
who is revealed over time by my practice. Courage is a part of that.
So are persistence, curiosity, a desire for truth, forgiveness, love,
humility, and freedom.

What’s it about for you?

Thanks to yoga for being as deep as
we’d like to dig. I suspect each of us is also deeper than we could possibly dig, and I’m grateful for that.

Thanks to you for the conversation,


Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All
Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario.  Join her on the
and on

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