Yoga - More Than Just A Pose
Updated: Oct 16, 2022
Yoga has a long and noteworthy history dating back 5000+ years but only in the last few decades did it become a household word. Due to its widespread popularity, yoga classes can be found pretty much anywhere, including gyms, clubs, the YMCA, centers, corporate conference rooms, churches, studios, and outdoor venues. One in ten Americans perform yoga on a regular basis. 72 percent of those are women. Yoga apparel, videos, mats and accessories is a multi-billion dollar industry.
Unfortunately with popularity, comes change. Most often Yoga is being used or viewed differently then it was originally intended for. By focusing on only the physical exercise aspect we have produced a lighter and diluted version of yoga.
Yoga is more than just a pose.
Yoga by Definition
Yoga, in sanskrit, means "the divine union of mind, body and soul". It's a practice that is meant to bring awareness to our bodies, attention to our breath, and connection to our inner self. Yoga is a sacred process that connects all three for a healthier, happier and peaceful existence.
There are many ways to practice Yoga. Performing physical poses is not the only way to practice yoga. Meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness can also be considered a yoga practice. Each one has its own unique contribution to the practice of unifying the mind, body and soul.
Yoga Poses - Mind, body and soul
Meditation - Mind and soul
Breathing Exercises - Mind and body
Mindfulness - Mind
So when yoga became popular, the poses (the physical exercise of the body), became THE focus because that was the path of least resistance. Adding the connection to our mind and soul during a yoga practice is reserved for the brave and few. But the true practice of yoga incorporates all three branches, and it's the secret to unlocking the power of yoga.
Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.
How to Truly Practice
If you feel like you are just going through the motions in your yoga practice, why not change it up? Next time you practice yoga, truly connect with each part of your body and your breath. Be in the present moment. Yoga is an elegant dance that centers our body and clears our mind. But I hear too often that holding a pose is too boring. It's not supposed to be boring. If you ARE feeling this way then RETHINK how you are experiencing each pose. Each pose requires physical and mental engagement. Sometimes checking in with the following questions helps you get out of that rut, that rut of going through the motions.
What is the status of your pose alignment? Is it truly aligned and safely?
Are the parts that should be active, fully engaged?
How is your body feeling? ... listen... your body has a lot to say
How is your breath.... is it even, gentle, and deep? Or is it agitated, shallow or non-existent?
Are you truly in the present moment? Or is your mind all over the place?
Transitioning to a deeper yoga practice takes time, work and intention. Yoga poses do provide physical benefits but it also can provide much more, if you are willing.
Yoga takes you into the present moment, the only place where life exists. ~Patanjali