|Yoga with Ved|
|Yoga with Ved|
Yoga is NOT stretching! Yoga is so much more than physical exercise. It is a complete holistic system for our lives. It is a practice that can help us to improve on every level and become conscious of the spiritual dimension deep within us.
Read on to find out 5 things that yoga is NOT.
Yoga is much more than what the media portrays
In our current atmosphere we are inundated by pictures of people practicing Hatha Yoga. That is the physical practice of Yoga. We see it all over the internet, in the media, Instagram, all that jazz. And unless we are really curious and begin looking further we might have the impression that Yoga is just about these physical postures.
We may think that Yoga is all about strength, flexibility and beautiful bodies. But it is not. The physical practice of yoga is only a small piece of the science. It is the tip of the iceberg that we see, not realizing that there is so much more to the practice of Yoga. We get caught up in the physical practice because it is visible, dealing with the physical body, and so it is easy to demonstrate.
But much of the practice of Yoga is invisible. It is about how you live your life, how you manage your mind and emotions, and most importantly about how you are opening up to that spiritual dimension of life.
In terms of the practice - working with postures and the physical body is a stepping stone towards working with our inner selves. By learning to work with the body we develop the skills needed to explore our inner selves and open up the spiritual dimension within us.
Genuine practitioners of Yoga
A real practitioner of Yoga is someone who tries to live in alignment with the principles of Yoga. Further, it is someone who is really seeking in their lives to open up to more. Yoga was meant to help us develop our full potential and lift our consciousness. A genuine yoga practitioner will be pursuing that wholeheartedly in their life.
I am very grateful that my own master helped me to understand what it means to have integrity in the practice of Yoga. For a long time I was involved in yoga, in the knowledge of yoga, and superficially in the practice. My master taught me that a genuine practitioner of yoga seeks to apply the principles of yoga to every area of their lives.
To have integrity in our practice requires that we continuously explore the science of Yoga with humility. It means that we are open to learning more about yoga and ourselves each day.
Yoga is NOT simply a physical exercise.
The practice of yoga goes far beyond the physical. Yes we start off by working with the physical, but that is because we need start by working with what is familiar to us. I am sure that you can appreciate if you were asked to sit right now and control your mind that would be a monumental task! But if you were asked to move the body and breathe a certain way - you could very easily follow that instruction.
By working with the body in a particular way we develop our skills and awareness of working beyond the body. Then as those skills develop, as our consciousness expands we can begin applying ourselves inwardly.
Yoga is NOT a religious activity.
Religion implies dogma, that we have to do something without understanding why we are doing it. And that we must have an implicit trust that something is happening even when we have no evidence for that. Yoga does not work that way. Yoga is a science - that means it is based on evidence. The evidence is in our experience of the practice.
When we follow the practices of yoga there is clear evidence based on the effect that it is having on us. A very capable practitioner will actually be acutely conscious of how their practice is changing their experience.
Yoga is NOT a quick fix for our lives.
I have personally seen some people "drop in" on a yoga class to try to casually deal with an injury they have been nursing for months, or to deal with the mountain of stress from their jobs. Perhaps they get some relief from that one class, but then I may never see them again. If you just try the practice once and expect miracle results from that one hour class then certainly something is amiss.
Yoga is a discipline, a practice that has to be integrated into our lives. When we practice consistently then all the results of yoga, all the benefits and more than we can imagine will come to us. I have experienced that, I have seen my peers experience that, and I have seen those who stay with the practice experience more than they believed possible.
Yoga is NOT living as a monk in a cave.
Some people may go that extreme route, of isolation and renunciation. But it is for a very select few. The rest of us can practice yoga as a part of our daily lives. In fact, that is what it was meant for. Yoga enriches our lives and helps us to live more harmoniously, wherever we are. It is not about running away from our challenges, but about facing them and overcoming them. Particularly so if our challenges are in relationships and societal living.
I am so glad that my own teacher helped to me to see that you can become a great yogi or yogini by simply living well and in alignment with the principles without trying to escape society.
Yoga is NOT an outward display of power.
Through the practice of Yoga all of our capacities grow beyond the familiar. A yogi becomes an unstoppable force. They may become physically powerful, or mentally so. Their personality may become very persuasive or they may even acquire mysterious abilities. BUT none of this is the goal of yoga. These skills that appear from the practice are simply signs that you are on the path.
We can understand that Yoga is not meant to show off. Rather it is about our own humble self-development.
What is Yoga?
As we begin clearing up what yoga is not, we may find ourselves asking then what is yoga? It is about living consciously and cultivating our full potential. It is a holistic practice of self-development. Yoga is about accessing what lies deep within us and expressing it in our lives, as it is.
The practice of yoga is so much more than physical. It can enrich our lives in so many ways if we are open to the deep science.
You can begin the practice of Yoga without learning any difficult postures. It is about so much more than that!