It’s not what most people think it is, Yoga. Sure the most common concept of yoga in the western world is a great way to get exercise and stretch it out. However, getting exercise is not what yoga really is all about. Yoga is about much more. Beyond the façade of the exquisite shapes and forms of bodies posted all over the Internet yoga is about stretching it out, but in a deeper sense. Yoga is something more empowering than long hamstrings and strong hand balances beyond the conundrum of fancy yoga clothes, popular classes, and famous yoga teachers. Yoga is something profound and deeply healing beyond the feelings of worth or shame that can be tied up in the struggle of dancing on the surface of a practice thousands of years old gaining popularity in a culture of fame and glamour. Yoga as a means to get to the heart of it is incredible medicine, whatever the heart of it may be.
Irrefutably yoga is fundamentally and most importantly a spiritual practice. Yoga is a multi faceted tool that includes a physical element in order to get to something more powerful and essential to the human spirit. Through dedicated return to asana a practitioner is able to access a state of transcendence of body and ego that places all of the valueless aspects of yoga in the west out of the picture of importance. Such a state of being enhances ones ability to then arrive at solving more profound questions of spirit like how to bring more love to the experience of life, how to serve with more selflessness, and how to be more accepting of what is and less attached to ego driven desires.
Knowing the difference between what yoga is and the common western cultural experience of yoga enables enough clarity of mind that permits a yogi to attend to their practice with or without fancy yoga pants, long hamstrings, the ability to do strong hand balances, and thousands of followers on instagram. Such knowledge is in itself power and can, like a viral video on YouTube, become common enough to change a cultural phenomena that has for the time being replaced ancient and beautiful teachings with vanity and ignorance. In the meantime, there is no need for condemning anyone for their journey, rather there is an opportunity to dive more deeply into the well of silent and expansive consciousness and invite others to gently and comfortably come along. And along the way may we not forget to do our yoga and to enjoy our fun and fancy yoga pants, our favorite teachers, practitioners who inspire us, and our gains in our asana practice as well as in our personal lives.
With Love, Always, In All Ways, For Giving,