What is Yoga?
Yoga is many things to many people. Yoga is an ancient practice, which originated in India and dates back thousands of years (2800 BCE) Translated in English, yoga means union – a union of the body, mind and spirit. It is an art, a philosophy and a science. It’s art in that we are moving our bodies into beautiful postures. It’s a philosophy in that it gives us guidelines on how to live our lives. And it is a science in that it helps to heal the body and the mind.
It is believed that yoga in the West is going through a period of transition. We are trying to adapt this ancient practice to suit our western lifestyle and belief structures. For most of us, it’s not possible to head off to an ashram indefinitely, studying with gurus. (Not that there’s anything wrong with this approach either. Life presents different choices to all of us.) We’re just trying to feel a little less stressed, have a healthier, more active lifestyle, and maybe experience the mind-body connection everyone is talking about. We want to figure out how to live our lives more fully, to experience life as a celebration of love, right here, right now.
Only you are to know what yoga means to you. No one can tell you what you “should” be feeling or experiencing. And to know this, you must experience it. One of yoga’s greatest gifts is the gift of awareness; and through practice, you will gain greater awareness of your self, your body, your breath and your spirit. Yoga, by its very nature, draws you inward, regardless of the reason you came to the mat.