What is Yoga?
It seems like such an easy question, but the more I put myself out there as a yoga teacher, the more I realize that people have no clue what yoga is.
To the uninitiated
For people who have tried yoga somewhere between once and never, yoga is terrifying. Especially on social media. It is incredibly intimidating. The perception is that if you aren’t wearing spandex with one foot behind your head while drinking a green smoothie, then you aren’t really doing yoga. How do you dip a toe into that world when you’ve never even touched your toes?
To the householder yogi
A householder yogi is someone who attends class weekly or with some frequency. You start to get the poses down and know where you need the most work: tight hips, hamstrings, or shoulders (maybe all three). You notice the difference between when you’re practicing regularly and when you’ve missed too many classes. You also start to notice similarities between your time on the mat and your real world life.
Yoga is a way of life. The physical poses of each yoga class are gateways to turning my attention inward, which is where the true work of yoga lies. I’m still working on tight hamstrings and building strength as well as trying hard to maintain a regular yoga practice. I’ve added the Yamas and Niyamas (yoga’s ethical guidelines) and meditation to my everyday life. The more I learn about yoga, the more I realize I don’t know yet! It’s a never ending journey.
How to take your yoga to the next level
Practice! In the first couple thousand years of yoga, the only directive for the physical practice was to keep steadily trying and find ease in your effort. Not a word about feet behind your head! As long as you continue to make room for yoga in your life, you’ll continue down the path of a yogi.