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I was asked what appeared to be a simple question for this assignment, what is Yoga? So I went back and forth, defining yoga from literatures, yoga teacher training (YTT) descriptions. I went down a rabbit hole struggling with how to answer that question.
And the answer that came to me was simple, I can not answer the question, what is Yoga? And despite what part of Canada you are in from Vancouver, Victoria , Kamloops, Banff, Jasper, Calgary, Edmonton, Hamilton, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, St Johns, Yoga is more than a definition.
It’s more, in my opinion then what is perceived by mainstream, western yoga.
YTT: It Is What It Is
However, even after doing a yoga teacher training I think yoga is what yoga is to an individual. For others yoga is meditation, and experience, a form of energy or some combination of all.
So, to continue to answer this question I will speak to what I personally believe yoga to be. Yoga is a feeling, a movement that begins from within and an entire experience.
It A Drug
I do believe that yoga is much more than an asana practice, as much as I love the physical movements, the challenging poses, the sweat and heat that is created that way through the movements alone and all the release of endorphins.
To me that is an aspect of my yoga. I need that within my practice to allow for my body to release and feel good. Yoga moves my body. But yoga is also felt from within and that feeling of release is exaggerated when I’m able to connect with my practice spiritually.
That to me is connecting every movement to the breath which brings both to a present experience and on the best days completely out of my current world. Every movement, every breathe is met with an intentional purpose. Yoga is creating a sense of presence on and off the mat.
The awareness or the self awareness that yoga creates is a big part of what I would personally refer to as yoga. All the physical aside, to me I don’t feel I have truly practice, done or are doing yoga unless that awareness is translating off the mat as well.
There is a whole experience with feeling yoga that bring forth an energy. That energy moves through me on the mat and I believe yoga is with me regularly. Yoga is with you.
Yoga is a in some ways a way of life. I do believe it essential for our longevity to move our bodies and challenge our selves. And I think sometimes yoga is mistaken in way that when you go to a class or do a practice on your own, we expect to have our “workout” done in this time.
Which is all fine and dandy and is great! But I want to recognize what the movement, that connection is doing for my body, my mind and my spiritual self and carry that with me consciously. So, what is yoga? We are yoga.