What is yoga?

*I am beginning an advanced training on Monday, and this was a question for our first “homeowork” assignment. I am so excited to begin this journey and be part of this new sangha! 

IMG_5883.jpgWhat is yoga?

Yoga means to yoke, to join or a union.

For me that is joining of opposites in the mind, body and spirit.

In the mind: joining together chaos and calm, light and dark.

In the body: joining together breath and movement, strength and flexibility.

In the spirit: joining together joy and sorrow, humanity and divinity.

BKS Iyengar in Light on Yoga describes yoga as a diamond “each facet reflecting a different shade of meaning and revealing different aspects of the entire range of human endeavor to win inner peace and happiness.” Yoga is what the yogi reflects back outward during the journey inward toward peace, happiness and fullness.

What does that journey look like?

It might be asana.

It might be pranayama.

It might be meditation.

It might be self-care.

It might be taking care of loved one or working for a passionate cause.

It is for the practitioner to decide.

Yes, there are some already carefully laid paths that one might choose to follow, but I believe these are more like guidelines. I have not studied some of these ancient texts in depth only excerpts, essays and talks on the texts including the yoga sutras and Bhagavad Gita. I sometimes feel like that makes me lacking as a yogi and even a teacher, which might be why I have the “guidelines” approach.

However, I do roll out my sticky mat every morning.

I do find moments of quiet throughout the day.

I reflect. I read poetry. I write.

I mess up. I make mistakes all the time. But I am aware. I am honest.

I am always asking questions. I am always searching for answers.

Actually, searching for mystery. Searching for the unknown, the unseen, the untold. Trying to be on the cusp of what is about to unfold. It is a particular awareness of mind, body and spirit. It is being present, while simultaneously being influenced by the past and looking ahead to the future. I think it is this that makes me, and makes anyone, a student of yoga.

 

Peace, love and Namaste,

Kristin (& Luna)

 

 

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