What is Yoga?

Lotus flower/Flor de loto

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.

Namaste

Beginning

Morning sun rays through haze

After thinking about it for a few months, I have finally decided to get a blog going. In the past years I have enjoyed (and learned from) readying blogs as varied as my interests. In some cases, I have followed the postings on some blogs daily, other times, I have read blogs sporadically. However, I love reading the quality work people create when they are inspired by their passion. I hope to emulate them.
In creating a blog I have two main goals, first, as a person who practices Yoga regularly, I want to reach out, in English and Spanish, to the average householder, someone who might be curious about Yoga or who might have practiced Yoga a few times and would like to participate in a friendly conversation about Yoga and Yoga inspired living.

My second goal is to use this space as a venue to distill my own understanding of the connections between Yoga and everyday life. Consequently, oftentimes I will write about topics that might seem only tangentially related to Yoga. I hope those topics will illustrate ways of living a yogic life, because I believe that Yoga, more than physical exercise, is a system for living consciously. I invite you to join me in this journey.

Namaste