In recent years, Yoga has become increasingly popular. In addition, people’s definitions, ways of practicing and reasons for doing Yoga vary widely –-which can result in lots of confusion for people unfamiliar with Yoga. In my opinion, the way we understand Yoga changes with our practice and experiences. Here is my attempt to define what I mean when I say Yoga.
Yoga is a system of practices that integrates the breath, the body and the mind so that we can be fully present.
Our minds and bodies are prone to habit formation. Such habits often influence our actions and our ways of being in the world. Although the physical aspect of Yoga practice can be very helpful in developing strength, flexibility and the ability to focus our attention, Yoga practice encompasses more than physical exercises. Indeed, Yoga provides a complete system of practices that address the breath, the body and the mind to help us remove habit and tune into our innermost nature so that we can live consciously.
In other words, Yoga is a personal, ongoing process for self-discovery and self-reliance.
The personal nature of Yoga practice makes it non-competitive. As an ongoing process, our Yoga practice changes over time to reflect our changing circumstances and needs. Thus, it is essential in our practice to be attentive to the feedback we receive from body, breath and mind so we can act intelligently and according to our specific needs. Although this sounds simple enough, it is not an easy process. However, being fully present and living consciously allow us to participate in the profound interconnectedness between all forms of life.