What is Yoga?
The beauty of yoga means “union.” Sadhguru says yoga is “that which brings you to reality.” Yoga is you. It is not a religion, a philosophy, or even an exercise regimen. It is an individual experience of life. Yoga is not universal. It takes you deep inside your soul and allows you to be one with you.
“To stand firmly on the ground and still reach out and touch the sky is the essence of the spiritual process,” Sadhguru, Daily Mystic Quote.
Sounds awesome, but most yoga students still claim that yoga is something you do. Like “going to yoga class,” “doing yoga,” “getting rid of my muscle aches, I do yoga.” You see pictures of flexible men and women practicing postures that are physically demanding, beautiful, and done in expensive yoga fashions. Showing off is not the soul of yoga although it does look great and the practice actually relieves many physical ailments.
In the beginning, there were 1800 varieties of yoga, and they all meant one thing, “union.” The union of body and mind, soul, and self. According to yoga masters you do not have to master may yoga practices. Many people shy away from yoga because they think they need to do 30 or 40 asanas (poses) when just one is enough.
Patanjali says of yoga, “for you bring your intellect to a hold pattern.”
Let our mind rest but be fully conscious. You are now in the world of yoga. You breathe, you live, you are a part of everything, but your mind is almost drifting and allowing you to function as light as air.
Sounds a little funky, but really yoga is a body and mind practice. Yoga originated in Indian philosophy over 3,000 years ago. There are different types of yoga that bring together breathing techniques, physical postures, and meditation. But, the best thing about yoga is relaxation.
What is Yoga, Really?
Yoga has evolved into a popular form of exercise, although it is not strictly an exercise. It is based on asanas or physical poses to endorse improved control of both your mind and body.
- Yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “yuj” or to join. Yuj translates to a union of mind and body.
- Western culture embraces Hatha yoga or Ha that means “sun” and that means “moon.”
The eight limbs of yoga are the path you follow to conscious living.
- Yama or ethical standards and integrity.
- Niyama or self-discipline and spiritual observances, meditation practices and contemplative walks.
- Asana or the integration of mind and body through physical activity
- Pranayama or regulation of breath leading to the integration of mind and body
- Pratyahara or withdrawal of the sense of perception, the eternal world, and outside stimuli
- Dharana or concentration, one-mindedness
- Dhyana or medication or contemplation
- Samadhi or the quiet state of blissful awareness.
Wow! If you could follow yoga arms, you would be a blissfully happy and integrated person.
Yoga is a great way to manage migraines, deal with stress from jobs or everyday living, and focus on what is essential. Yoga is there to bring you to a state of calm and help you regain self. Yoga is breathing; allowing you just to be.
My Ongoing Journey with Yoga
My journey with yoga came about so I could be trendy and come out of my shell. You can’t imagine what it took for me to walk, alone, into that dark and heated yoga studio. Little did I know that just the first session would take me on a journey to become more conscious about myself. I know, sounds corny, but it is true.
The class was practiced in a room full of people of every size and shape. Made me feel more comfortable. Next were told to unroll our mats and go into child’s pose. I could do this! It felt empowering to someone who has absolutely no balance, athletic ability, or flexibility.
Our second task was to breathe. Not just gently move air in and out of the lungs, but to breathe deeply and think about breathing. Clear the mind and just breath. It was incredible.
Next, we were taught to go into downward dog pose. A bit of a strain for me, but the pose was comfortable. Now I knew two asanas, and I was on cloud nine. Forgetting about the bills that needed to be paid, the problems with my daughter I could not solve, just breathing and focusing on me, I was learning Niyama or self-discipline, and meditation practices.
Breathing and concentrating is what yoga is all about. Finding yourself in healing and spiritual freedom. Letting the world go by the wayside while you try and master downward dog and child’s pose. Maybe I’ll never master standing on my head or doing the artistic poses my teacher does, but I have learned to think about breath, self, and learning how to come to a quiet state of blissful awareness.