What Exactly Is Yoga?

yoga teacher

Many people think yoga is simply the poses you do in a yoga room, but this simply isn’t true!

Let’s start with the basics. One of my favorite yoga books I read throughout my training is called The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (pronounced puh-taan-ju-lee). Patanjali’s sutras are the foundational texts of yoga and in the book Patanjali also describes the eight limbs of yoga. Only one of those limbs include yoga poses, which is asana in sanskrit. Just one! The other seven limbs include integrity (yama), self-discipline (niyama), mastering the breath (pranayama), sense withdrawal (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), contemplation (dyana) and a state of ecstasy (samadhi). Go here if you want to read more about the eight limbs. So why is there such an emphasis on just the poses?

There are a lot of reasons for emphasizing so much on just the asanas, but it mostly boils down to this: Yoga poses (or asanas) are an easy way to teach people the other benefits of yoga. Would you want to sit in class for an hour and a half and meditate? Probably not. However, if you like going to yoga classes, it’s probably because your mind feels quieter after a class filled with various poses and stretches that make you feel calmer. This means you’re getting a lot of the other benefits of yoga just by doing the postures. How many times have you gone to a yoga class feeling stressed and overwhelmed, only to emerge realizing most of the things you were worrying about aren’t important? It happens to me all the time!

The poses also massages your organs.  Isn’t that wonderful?  Yoga helps your organs get a good workout as well.  The more you do yoga the better focused your mind will be.  You will find the answers to questions you may have or situations that need resolving popping into your head so clear with a simple solution.

I challenge you to try a yoga class or get a yoga tape and see what happens in your life after one month. 😉