What Yoga Is and Is Not
What is Yoga?
The word yoga means to ‘yoke’, Union
The core of yoga serves only as a vehicle for all of us to experience beauty, love and transformation. Yoga practices come from India and it is a 5,000 year old practice. It is a great form of healing at physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Deep inner peace and harmony can be achieved through consistent practice.
Yoga is not a Religion. It is an art form, a science and a holistic way of life.
Yoga is personal (Individual); everyone has a different experience and has different needs. It is based on the understanding that human spirit has limitless potential. Yoga nourishes the body so we can comfortably continue on our path. There are thousands of yoga poses. No absolute number because the human body is so miraculous that some people can bring their bodies into poses that others might not. Everybody is at their own level and in yoga we approach these challenges with non judgement.
Yoga teaches us patience because there is no quick fix for change and growth. Yoga encourages us to feel what is like to just be. In the moment, present and alive. Through yoga we bring presence to each breath not being concerned with the past (guilt) or the future (anxiety). The only thing that we have is NOW.
There is only One Yoga. In the West most of the Yoga classes that are taught are branches of Hatha Yoga. The different names that exist are just different styles and /or structures.
In yoga, we are fully responsible for the choices that we make in our practice. We can choose our pose, just as we choose our jobs or spouses. Yoga teaches us to embrace the mystery of all that we do not know. To trust in ourselves and the universe. That fear is an illusion. It helps us slow down to observe the body, the breath and any emotions that arise.
To give us time in our practice to work through feelings, thoughts, restraints, challenges and open up to receiving all that is out there for us. Yoga helps access our inner wisdom so that we can live our TRUTH.
The attention we bring to our Yoga practice will flow out into daily life. When we cultivate intimacy with ourselves through yoga it will increase intimacy that we have with others. Yoga is a lifestyle and once you’ve been exposed you will always go back to the tools that you’ve learn. Self reflection, awareness, intuition and Breath. Our thoughts and feeling are trained by habit to flow in predictable patterns, which determine whether our life fosters a sense of ease and happiness or turns from it. Whichever belief system you subscribe to, know that you possess the power to affect your life’s patterns and dreams.
The Path of Yoga
The 8 Limb Path of Yoga from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Just as building a foundation is an absolutely necessary phase to building any structure, the most important aspect of the construction of the spiritual edifice of raja yoga is constituted by the moral and ethical practices called yamas and niyamas.
For the majority of aspirants, the main focus of their sadhana should be the development of yama and niyama. More advanced practices such as meditation should also be pursued, but one must understand that no substantial progress will take place until the 10 practices of yama and niyama are tangibly established.