While yoga promotes health, fitness and wellbeing, it goes beyond physical practice and breathing techniques. Yoga originated in India about 5.000 years ago and in recent years has evolved into a popular form of exercise. Modern yoga is certainly physical however there is a deep connection with looking inwards while practising asanas.
If you remove the spiritual side of a yoga practice, it's just a workout class or a relaxation session. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with using postures to exercise and sweat; this is only a small part of what is widely known as yoga. Yoga helps people heal emotionally, remove their limiting beliefs, grow and in some cases, transform their lives. You can read more about yoga's benefits in my other blog post here.
When a yogi commits to a regular yoga practise, they become aware of the spiritual energy behind everything that happens which lies within. Something will always go wrong in life and normally there's very little we can do to control the negative. Yoga empowers you to become aware of yourself and you experience by developing a spiritual awareness.
When the phone is ringing or your neighbour is loud, you can still hold the pose on your mat if you are able to quieten your mind. It's the same when life happens. When your car breaks down or you lose your job, you can still hold your position and control how you interact with others or how you live your life.
Yoga is and should be accessible to all. You breathe, you do yoga, or so they say, in a very simplistic phrase. People are getting on their mat to practice yoga in whatever form serves them: vinyasa, ashtanga, yin, power, aerial and so on. Taking your mind off from the busy and overwhelming world we live in by focusing on your breath is a way to connect to your own self, to each other and to your surroundings.
Although yoga comes from a place of knowledge and training, it is truly everywhere and for everyone these days. If you can take what you have learnt on the mat and apply it off the mat too, then you are one step closer to living a more authentic, compassionate life. So make a start and get on your mat to experience what yoga is really about.
Airplane pose in the park