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What is Yoga (and Yoga Teacher Training)?
Around the world, Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, Comox, Campbell River, Kamloops, Banff, Jasper, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Hamilton, London, Halifax, Saint John, St Johns or even aboard Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Bali, Thailand, New Zealand, London, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro Greece, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Buenos Aires, Dallas, Miami, New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Tel Aviv at first glance, this question may seem that it has a simple solution.
Many people would say that Yoga is a physical activity, others regard it to be a spiritual practice, and others still consider it a “union”, “yoke” or “joining” of the physical, spiritual and emotional.
My own personal interpretation continues to evolve as I practice Asanas, Pranayama, meditation and walk my spiritual path.
In The Beginning
Yoga was a physical activity to help me overcome several serious injuries and deal with pain.
By focusing my attention to transitioning into a particular Asana whilst applying focused breathing, I was able to momentarily come into the present.
In those brief moments, I felt completely and totally “together” and glimpsed true peace as I was not focused on what had already happened or what was yet to come.
My life (until that point) has been spent living out horrors of the past or worrying what atrocities I would face in the future.
Being able to momentarily rest in the present made me realize that, in fact, the present…the right here, right now, is all that really exists.
The past is only memories and therefore not real (though they feel it), and equally the future has not yet come to pass and so is not real either.
In this way, I began to see my Yoga practice as so much more than just a physical activity. It started to become a place of respite, a place of physical, emotional and spiritual rest.
Under normal circumstances, I would have tried to stop my tears, but something deep inside myself told me to let go, to just allow it to happen without judgment.
I cried long and hard during that session, and in every Yin session after it for the following 10 days. This release always happened either in Pigeon or Dragon pose.
At this stage in my Yogic journey, I learned that our body stores energy, memories and karma.
And so, Yoga helped me to heal from physical and deep emotional wounds. As a result, Yoga has begun to infiltrate all aspects of my life and I have become a more compassionate, loving person.
What is Yoga? I still do not believe I have the knowledge or experience to answer this question easily, all I can do is describe what it is to me, at this moment. And the only word that comes to mind is “love”, Yoga is love.