What is yoga… or why you should practice yoga?
Yoga means union, coming from the sanskrit word yuj which means to yoke. The union is of the body, mind and spirit and the result is clarity, calmness, peace.
In the Bhagavad Gita, yoga is equality. Movement away from our insticts to judge and react towards a neutral and stable mind.
In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, yoga is oneness of mind; essentially the ability to control your thoughts rather than be controlled by them.
The physical practice of yoga aligns the body and mind by putting you rt. there… on your mat, face to face with yourself, thoughts-racing, heart-beating, lungs-pumping in your own skin. The awareness is impossible to escape. From this awareness of the connection between your body and mind, you can begin to control both and have each work in harmony with the other.
When your leg is shaking while holding a pose and your thoughts are racing towards why you even bothered coming to class, that you hate this pose, that the teacher is annoying you, simply returning to your breath, taking a large inhale and a satisfying exhale, can completely calm you. Instantly, you are reminded that you can control your body and mind, stop negative thinking and overcome anything. Sure, sometimes I straighten my leg early but that’s why yoga is practice. We are working towards it, everyday, everytime we are on mats, everytime our minds are spinning out of control. Taking a moment to clear your mind, simply by returning to your breath spreads calmness thoughout your being. The entire yoga practice helps you to create space and quiet in your mind, so that off the mat, when your mind and body are spinning out in the real world, you have the clarity and peace of mind to be able to step back from a situation and reasess it from a place of peacefulness.
The spirit enters the practice through our intention and devotion. Spirituality and the recognition of some inner aspect, the desire to connect to something higher, for me is all about gratitude and appeciatation. Gratitude to my mind and body, gratitude to the practice of yoga, gratitude to my family and friends and for all the joy of our lives on this beautiful planet.
When you approach the world from a place of gratitude, and your mind, body and spirit work together in perfect harmony, you are living yoga… and that’s why you should practice yoga! Until you become that realization of yoga, just try to incorporate a little bit in your life and remember that you have the power to create your own inner peace.
You can practice anywhere and everywhere. Touch you toes or move from plank to upward facing dog and give yourself an instant boost and a moment to take a deep breath.