My dear fellow yogis!
I am so glad to present you with my blog on yoga, health, fitness and the yogic lifestyle. Hopefully we will be partners in crime when it comes to exploring the broad world of yoga. Every Monday a new post will appear on this page fuelling your hunger for more yoga related topics. For now I would like to dicuss what yoga is or what it can be in my point of view.
What is yoga? This is a question that I’ve asked several people in my city and those are the answers I gathered.
“Oh, yoga is definately a sport.”
“It is an excuse not to participate in an actual sport.”
“Yoga is for the mind and the body.”
So what is yoga then? All of those definitions above or none of them at all. Many would define yoga as a skillful activity that brings harmony to body and mind. I agree with that statement, as I used it to define yoga on this very page, but I am absolutely positive that yoga is so much more. As everything in life yoga is not just what Patanjali defined it to be in his “Yoga sutras” 400 CE.
Fun fact being that the name yoga is the modernized term for the practice that used to be called “yog”. The same is true for all Sanskrit terms that follow and that end on an A.
Can something as spiritual and life changing as yoga really be defined by the eight limbs of yoga for each individual respectively? The eight limbs by Patanjali are Yamas (external ethics), Niyamas (internal ethics), Asanas (the physical practice), Pranayama (cultivation of the breath), Pratyahara (control of senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (enlightment). Is this really all that there is to life as a yogi? I’ve always found that big words and goals of the eight limbs of yoga intimidating. In a world that constantly tells you that you are not good enough is it really beneficial to use the system of the eight limbs in order to reach a happier life? Whilst I agree that the capitalistic and money spending world might not make one happy, I do ask myself whether a person following every step stated by Patanjali, abiding to all those rules can truly know what happiness is. If that was me striving for those goals I bet I were disappointed if nothing changes as soon as I have reached the last stage. Can Patanjali’s undoubted wisdom really reflect life of a yogi today? Can we really rid ourselves that easily from all desires, possessions, loved ones and experiences that are beyond the scope of yoga? Was this even his intention?
As with most things in life, I am a strong believer of yoga being whatever you desire to make it. Is it your comfort and safety net in life? There you have your individual definition. Is it your form of luxury because you are taking time out of your day to slow everything down a bit and just focus on being in the moment? This is another way of looking at yoga. Do you feel like you can only reach your fitness goal by practicing yoga ever once in a while after an exhausting workout? Or is yoga your form of workout?
I guess the question of what yoga is, can’t be answered like this. Yoga can be whatever you decide it to be or not to be. Ask yourself the question before you step onto the mat the next time: what is yoga to me?