Yoga Is About So Much More Than Just Poses, According To Yoga Teacher Thara Natalie – Exclusive

Thara Natalie started practicing yoga when she was 19 years old. And when she discovered Bikram yoga, she fell in love almost immediately. The repetitive series of poses was comforting to Thara, especially when she struggled with anxiety. She also found that many of the poses allowed her to physically and mentally reset, so she could move through her life in a more intentional way.

Soon after Thara began practicing, she began digging into the philosophy and spirituality behind yoga. She discovered that yoga is about so much more than just the physical practice. She discovered the true purpose of yoga -– "to quiet the mind."

When Thara became a yoga teacher several years later, she knew her mission was to pass on not only the physical practice of yoga but the spiritual practice as well. In an exclusive interview with Health Digest, Thara detailed how she makes her personal yoga practice and her yoga classes about more than just the poses.

Yoga is not just fitness

Thara Natalie acknowledged that Western yoga is often much more about fitness than spirituality. She said that people may go to a yoga class because they want "really toned abs" and "really cute booties." Nevertheless, Thara emphasized that she's not actually opposed to that motivation. "What I really, really embrace is if someone is coming and getting the yoga in any form, they are going to get the benefits. ... If I can get them in the room for that class and I get them on the mat, then I can sneak in the other goodies."

Thara further told us that every time someone shows up for a practice, whether they know it or not, they're also showing up for a spiritual journey. Even those who are solely hoping to burn some calories get a dose of the spiritual path of yoga.

"People have learned that when you come to a Thara class, you know that that is going to be integrated. So at some point in the class, you have to be ready to sit in stillness and we're going to meditate," she explained.

'Yoga makes you a better person'

According to Thara, when people practice yoga — regardless of their motivation or intention — they're also practicing self-improvement. "You're having this moment with yourself where you are battling yourself in certain poses and you're battling your mind space to be like, 'No, I can't do this. No, I'm not flexible enough. No, I'm not good enough. No, I'm not strong enough.' And then you have to turn those voices off and just surrender to the moment and surrender to your breath and pause," she explained. "And then you find this moment where your body softens and your mind quiets and you expand and you're like, 'Oh, I can do this,'" Thara continued.

She revealed that each of these moments help us to shift our expectations of other people, too: "The way that we talk to ourselves is ultimately how we talk to other people. We can soften and have more compassion for ourselves. When we're in that yoga room, it's going to affect how we treat other human beings."

You can learn more about Thara Natalie and follow her journey by checking out her Instagram.