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Harmony in Verses: Elevate Your Yoga Practice with Three Soulful Poems

In the serene space where breath meets movement and stillness intertwines with energy, the closing moments of a yoga class hold a unique magic. It's a time to ground oneself, to reflect on the journey within, and to foster a sense of unity between mind, body, and spirit. Here, I introduce my three favorite poems to use at the end of a yoga class, each carefully selected to enhance the sense of tranquility, connection, acceptance and self reflection cultivated during the practice.

"Not" by Erin Hanson:

Erin Hanson's poem "Not" is a poignant and introspective piece that explores the theme of self-discovery and authenticity. In this poem, Hanson reflects on the importance of staying true to oneself, resisting societal expectations, and embracing individuality. The speaker challenges the conventional norms and pressures that surround us, urging the reader to break free from the constraints of conformity. The title, "Not," serves as a powerful declaration of defiance against societal norms, suggesting that true fulfillment lies in being unapologetically authentic. Through concise and impactful language, Hanson's "Not" encourages readers to celebrate their uniqueness and find strength in the realization that sometimes, it's in the act of rejecting societal norms that we truly discover our own identity.

"You are not your age, nor the size of clothes you wear

You are not a weight or the colour of your hair

You are not your name or the dimples in your cheeks

You are all the books you read and all the words you speak

You are your crazy morning voice

And the smiles you try to hide

You're the sweetness in your laughter

And every tear you've cried

You're the songs you sing so loudly

When you know you're all alone

You're the places that you've been to and the one that you call home

You're the things that you believe in

And the people that you love

You're the photos in your bedroom - and the future you dream of

You're made of so much beauty

But it seems that you forget

When you decided that you were defined

By all the things you're not.

"After a while" by Veronika A Shofstall

"After a While" is a poem that speaks to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. It encourages readers to persevere through life's challenges and to find strength in their own resilience. The poem reflects on the passage of time and the gradual healing that occurs after enduring hardships. With a soothing and reassuring tone, Shoffstall's words convey a message of hope, urging individuals to move forward, embrace change, and discover the renewal that comes after enduring difficult times.

"After a while you learn the subtle difference

between holding a hand and chaining a soul

and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

and company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises

and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead

with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child

and you learn to build all your roads on today

because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much

so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul

instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

And you learn that you really can endure

you really are strong

you really do have worth

and you learn and you learn

with every goodbye, you learn…"

"Cure for it all" Julia Fehrenbacher

For me this poem carries a profound and soothing message that resonates with mindfulness and the importance of being present in the moment. The simplicity of the language contrasts with the depth of its wisdom, inviting the reader to embrace a slower pace and savor the current experience. Closing a yoga class is a perfect time to foster self-love and acceptance. The poem gently guides you to acknowledge and embrace the love that resides within, encouraging you to absorb the empowering message of self compassion, echoing the transformative journey of a yoga practice.

Go gently today, don’t hurry

or think about the next thing. Walk

with the quiet trees, can you believe

how brave they are—how kind? Model your life

after theirs. Blow kisses

at yourself in the mirror

especially when you think you’ve messed up.

Forgive yourself for not meeting your unreasonable expectations.

You are human, not God—don’t be so arrogant.

Praise fresh air

clean water, good dogs.

Spin something from joy.

Open a window, even if it’s cold outside.

Sit. Close your eyes. Breathe. Allow

the river of it all to pulse through eyelashes

fingertips, bare toes.

Breathe in breathe out. Breathe until

you feel your bigness,

until the sun rises in your veins.

Breathe until you stop needing anything to be different.

Incorporating poetry into the closing moments of a yoga class can elevate the

entire experience. Lingering in the beauty of these verses, carrying the serenity and inspiration off the mat and into the world beyond.

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