Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Is Yoga? (Part I)

What is Yoga? Is it a physical activity to get in shape? Is it gentle or vigorous? Is it a spiritual practice? Is it a religion?

What yoga is depends on the one practicing yoga. For some it’s a stress reliever. For others it is an exercise class or time away from the kids and/or spouse. For some it’s a form of physical therapy and for others it becomes a spiritual practice. Yoga can be all of those things at once. That’s what makes yoga such a wonderful practice. Yoga is whatever it needs to be.

For me, attending yoga classes is a chance for me to relax, center and ground myself. It’s a time where I leave my worries and thoughts at the door. I get time to focus on my “self”. I have the chance to honor my body through movement- by strengthening it and honoring its limitations, pushing gently through resistance but stopping when necessary. I am able to stretch out and release tense muscles (and a tense mind!) I breathe better during yoga sessions. I breathe deeper and I am more aware of my breath. There are so many benefits to my yoga practice. I’m not sure I can list them all. The main point is this: For me, Yoga Is Life. I feel the most alive when I am at Yoga class. I feel aligned with life. I feel at home- I think this is the best way to describe it.

I am still in my beginning stages of yoga. I am learning more poses everyday. I am feeling more confident in my poses and I am more appreciative of my body. I no longer have so much disdain for my body. I am still frustrated from time to time about its current condition, but I am growing (and dwindling!)

There is so much more to discuss about yoga, so I will do several more entries discussing more concrete ideas and beliefs. For now, its just my thoughts.