Thursday, May 26, 2011

why oprah is a yogi

Yesterday goes down as a pretty special day in my book. The final episode of Oprah's 25 year run with her show. I am a fan of Oprah. I had sorta enjoyed her show back in the day. But my love affair officially began with her magazine. I have loved her magazine and the deeper insight it has provided into O's life. With each issue that I pick up I excitedly flip to the very last page to read my fave part of the mag...What I Know for Sure. I do love reading Oprah's Aha's.

Yesterday was a bittersweet day (although O herself says it's all sweet) for me. It's amazing to witness someone do so much in a lifetime. I loved the simplicity of her show yesterday. No gifts, no makeovers, no trips, no celebs. Just O and what she does best in my mind, which is share from her heart, inspire others, and have this uncanny ability to reach through the TV to make you feel as if she's directly speaking and connecting with you. All things that I strive to do as I teach, lead and live my life.

Oprah is a role model for me without a doubt. Since watching the show yesterday I've pondered Oprah and the lessons she shared. I've concluded that although she may not practice yoga poses (asana), she is without a doubt a full fledged yogi.

She gave perfect examples of the niyamas (personal behaviors/observances) in yesterdays episode. She has given us brilliant examples of what it means to embody these ancient ideas in a modern day world. I'd love to share four of the five niyamas and how Oprah embodies them:

**Santosha is most often translated as contentment. I have written and taught on how gratitude is the gateway to contentment. Witnessing the beauty in the world and expressing heartfelt thanks helps us to feel satisfied on a deeper level, all of which lead to contentment. One can hardly think of Oprah and not think of the gratitude journal. Although this is not a practice that Oprah herself came up with we can thank O for bringing the art of journaling into the lives of millions of homes.

On contentment and gratitude Oprah says, "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never have enough."

**Tapas is translated at fire, willpower, and discipline. It is this fire in the belly that all of us have felt throughout our lives fueling our passions, needs, desires, and dreams. I nearly fell off of my chaise lounge yesterday when Oprah said that she has never missed one show, one taping in 25 years. She found a way to be there. Always. Talk about discipline. That is crazy inspiring to me.

Oprah has said, "I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity." That preparation is work, willpower, and discipline.

**Svadhyaya is reflection, inquiry and study of the Self. One of the reasons I love Oprah so much is that I'm constantly learning from her. She is clearly a gal that loves to learn and she is continually evolving. She asks the big questions in life and seeks answers. My kinda gal for sure.

"I am a woman in process. I'm just trying like everybody else. I try to take every conflict, every experience and learn from it. Life is never dull." Rock on O. I agree. ;)

**Ishvara Pranidhana is most often translated as connection to a higher good, a higher purpose, and/or power. I view it as feeling connected to something greater than myself. Call it what you want... Oprah has really opened people's eyes and minds about what it means to be spiritual being. Love that. Again.

"If you want to accomplish the goals of your life, you have to begin with the spirit." Amen sister O.

Lastly Oprah mentioned one other thing yesterday that really resonated with me. She was talking what she does when she needs clarity, or an answer. What does she do?

She gets quiet.
She gets still.
And she listens

This is yoga. Yoga is truly about quieting the monkey mind. Settling into stillness. Seeing, feeling, and knowing ourselves as amazing divine beings. In those moments another voice begins to whisper good ol fashion goodness. It is a brilliant and wise voice. And that's where the answers to your questions lie.

Yay Oprah. Thanks for being such an inspiring and fabulous teacher to so many people. Cheers to the next chapter.

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