“Yoga” has been defined in many ways. One of the most common definitions is “ to yoke”, or bring into union. The Yoga Sutras define “Yoga” as chitta vritti nidrodha, or stilling of the fluctuations of the mind. Yoga was founded thousands of years ago. To my understanding, the term was first used in the Vedas. The word “Veda” means knowledge or wisdom. Yoga is referenced quite frequently in the Bahagavad Gita, a beautifully written poem located in the center of the Mahabharata.
Why practice Yoga? Many practitioners today are only familiar with the physical form of asana. Although, Patanjali defines Yoga into 8 limbs:
I feel this is important to note because (a) this practice has historical roots based in philosophy and (b) it is not just about the physical postures. In fact, this practice can simply be about uniting the mind and body in order to calm the constant conversations shaping your everyday life. The postures are tools to warm the body up for more advanced layers of meditation, concentration, and enlightenment.
As yogis, we examine our selves in order to reveal our samskaras, or habitual patterns. These thought patterns create our reality. Once we become aware of a samskara we can choose to keep or change the pattern. This may look like changing a way of standing, sitting, eating or relating to your significant other. These small shifts are part of the process.
You do not need to believe in any of these things to practice Yoga. You can simply walk into a class and leave savasana feeling great. Each posture is designed to cleanse the body. The cleansing process helps you to connect to your breath and clear stagnant energy in the body. Because of its focus on self awareness, it can also bring up sub conscious conversations or reactions that are no longer serving you. As you being to release and let go of these negative holding patterns, you will start to feel lighter and more energetic in your everyday life.
So, if you’re contemplating stepping into a Yoga class, here are a few reasons you may choose to take the leap:
Why do you practice Yoga? Are you new and have hesitations about attending a public class? Tell us your thoughts in the comment box below or share the conversation on social media to get your friends involved.
Namaste (which means “the light in me sees, honors and greets the light within you”)