• Gemma Tighe

How Yoga brings a unique approach to Spirituality in my life

Being brought up early on in life as a devout catholic, brought religion and spirituality into my life at an early age.

As a young child every Sunday morning was reserved for church, I loved it, I loved the stories of Jesus, he seemed like quite an amazing guy. I also had the most amazing pink plastic rosery beads, which I adored, I wish I knew what happened to those beads I really loved them.

Then at around the age of 8, my Dad had a falling out with our Priest and we moved out to the countryside and I was thrust into a Church of England School. I still went to church weekly, but this was with school and it was much more relaxed and informal, I guess it was around this time when I began to question faith and religion in general. Catholicism seemed to have so many barriers for me and this grew more and more as I took to my teenage years. One element though that has always remained something quiet magical for me has been my respect for faith. To have unwavering faith in something is something quite unique and also offers a strength, a tool to pull out from within in difficult times.

I had always been quite alternative in my youth, my best friend has always called me a hippy, so it was no surprise I started to become more spiritual and read more and more about spirituality in my early twenties. A friend suggested I read the Celestine Prophecy and it has literally been my bible ever since, amongst a great deal of other amazing self help books, this combined with finding Yoga and facing challenging periods in my early adult life really created the perfect time to become more spiritual within my self.

Yoga and Spirituality go hand in hand and at times I think this can be something that makes people fear Yoga at times, the fear that this spirituality malarkey isn't going to be for me. Fear is an incredible tool though that can hinder and also excel us further, when I teach there is not always an element of spirituality, I mainly reserve this for my Yin sessions I teach, but Yoga offers the opportunity to connect with at times our own spirit and spirituality in a way I've not found anywhere else.

Spirituality can be defined as "the quality that involves deep feelings and beliefs of a religious nature, rather than the physical parts of life." Cambridge Dictionary, Feb 2021.

I treat my mat as a sacred space, it is one space where I know I'm kind to myself, I listen to my body, my mind and my heart. That's not to say I'm not kind to myself off the mat, but I find it's the one space I truly listen in without the distractions of the busy world around me.

Christina Puchalski, MD, Director of the George Washington Institute for Spirituality and Health, contends that "spirituality is the aspect of humanity that refers to the way individuals seek and express meaning and purpose and the way they experience their connectedness to the moment, to self, to others, to nature, and to the significant or sacred." I much prefer this definition as opposed to the Cambridge Dictionary for me it sounds more intrinsic with how I view spirituality.

How often is it in life that we slow down, we listen in to ourselves and the Universe, again this term can at times make people uncomfortable, some people prefer the term God as opposed to the Universe. For me I love the term Universe as it simply means "all" and I want to connect and be at one with "all" if at possible and if time on the mat practising yoga brings me that, then that's where you will find me.

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