Oftentimes, I get questions regarding yoga. What is yoga? Is it a religion? Is it exercise?
When I initially started yoga, I strictly did it for the health benefits and exercise. But as I have grown as an instructor and as I continue working toward my 500 Hours, I realize that yoga isn’t simply a religion or an exercise. I would say that yoga, through the many asanas and styles, as well as the founding principles – is a way of life that can be broken into little parts for physical, mental and spiritual health. Yoga allows the practitioner to go as far, or as little, as they want to. Yoga is a customized “entire-body” health practice.
Prior to my practicing yoga, I studied many philosophies and religions and felt a strong pull toward Buddhism. Throughout my yoga practice, I’ve learned that Buddhism as well as many religions, work hand in hand with the philosophies of yoga. The principles of the yamas and niyamas, for example, are often guiding principles of other religions. At the end of the day, to answer, “What is yoga?” I have to admit that yoga is a way of living in harmony with ourselves. It is a harmony with the life we lead, the air we breath, the body we are in and the calming and stilling of the mind.
I know that yoga helps us to find out who we are, if we let ourselves release the ego surrounding “we” or “us” and even, “I”. The goals in yoga are not to place ourselves in an elitist status as a yogi or to harm others, a commonly talked about theme in all sports which has effected even yoga, but to enhance ourselves and others around us; to protect, love and grow with one another.
And even if I say that yoga is a customized “entire-body” health practice, in the meantime, starting with yoga strictly for the exercise component and the health benefits is a fantastic way to begin!
- A ConVerse: Know the Difference, Asana is not Yoga! (rudrakshayoga.wordpress.com)
- Is Yoga a Religion (values2life.wordpress.com)
- Beginning Yoga, and Thoughts (smoothgreenpose.wordpress.com)
- Yoga and Religion (outdooryogachiangmai.wordpress.com)
- Yoga Expansion. (aurajade.wordpress.com)
- New Class (yogagirlsherri.wordpress.com)