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What is Yoga (and Yoga Teacher Training)? 

Around the world, Victoria, Vancouver, NanaimoComox, 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, MiamiNew York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Tel Aviv at first glance, this question may seem that it has a simple solution. 

However, as a baby practitioner of Yoga, I feel as though the answer is truly profound and highly dependent upon one’s state of consciousness at the time of asking. 

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. 

But after doing a yoga teacher training in Vancouver,  I practiced yoga even more, and I started to realize that the Asanas themselves were leading to something else, something deeper. 

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. 

Iraq

This was a profound experience for me as I am a soldier who has served several tours of duty to Afghanistan and Iraq

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

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.

Yin 

As my concept of what Yoga is began to evolve, so did my experiences with it. During one particular Yin session, whilst holding the dragon pose, I began to weep uncontrollably. 

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. 

Hard 

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.