What Does Yoga Mean To You?

The practice of yoga offers many different gifts to many different people. Traditionally the word yoga is defined as “to yoke” or to create “a union.” The union or the yoking that this definition speaks to is the creation of a union between the heart and the mind. Once this union is created one experiences an inner calm and quiet, leading eventually to Samadhi. Samadhi is complete absorption in a meditative state where one realizes or comes to know that there is no separation from the Self and the Divine. Pretty fabulous!

The first Sutra of the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali states: Yoga Citta Vritti Nirodha. This first sutra is translated by Sanskrit scholar Nicolai Bachman to mean: “Yoga is the calming of the cycling or turnings of the heart/mind”, an extrapolation on the definition of the word Yoga itself. And although some of us are deeply interested in the philosophy of the practice of yoga, this is not true for everyone.

What does it all mean to the average yoga practitioner? Why do people return to their mats, again and again and again. Most of us are householders, meaning that we are practicing yoga, but also living our lives in the world, we are not sitting in meditation and practicing for hours a day, Samadhi may not be in our grasp in this life time. So, the question remains, why are we all hooked on yoga?

  • For some it is an inner spaciousness, a calm, a a quite that emerges if even for a short period of time;
  • For others, it’s the mobility they experience in their movement that comes with practice;
  • Some practice for the fitness;
  • Some for the challenge of more physical postures;
  • Meditation;
  • Self-awareness;
  • Breath work; and
  • For some it is the community that practicing in a studio provides.

The truth is that there is no one right reason to practice yoga, despite the philosophical framework that supports the practice. We are not in a place to judge what motivates others to step onto their mats. If the practice of yoga is offering you something, whatever that may be it does not matter if anyone else understands it, what matters is that you feel it and understand it. And hopefully we all get a glimpse of the reality that we are the divine, each and every one of us.

Looking forward to seeing you on the mat at Shala soon and sending all of you yoga lovers out there love.

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