Yoga - so much more than the pose.
Yoga is not about the crazy, twisty, super bendy postures that you see on social media. It's so much more than that. Yoga is not just a physical practice. Even then, there are so many types of physical practices out there - there's vinyasa, there's hatha, there's restorative, there's yin and so much more.
Yoga, as defined in the ancient Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is the control of the "fluctuations of the mind". It is a practice that encompasses mind, body and spirit. We practice the physical postures to prepare our bodies for the practice of meditation. And it's in that practice of meditation that we control the "fluctuations of the mind". Once achieved, we may find bliss, connection to our higher selves, to spirit, to God. I don't claim that you or I, the ordinary householder, will find enlightenment or Nirvana, however, if we can get to the point of experiencing even just a single blip of true contentment, unconditional love and pure bliss, I'd say why not?
The physical, mental and emotional benefits are expansive. Yoga has been extensively researched and studied and time and time again, the results consistently indicate that Yoga is GOOD FOR YOU. So good for you and on so many levels.
The benefits of yoga are many. Are you ready to explore them?
If you've been curious but have been intimidated by it, or unsure of where to start, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, take that first step and try it. In our Western culture, most of us find our way to Yoga through the physical practice first. That's a great place to start your exploration of Yoga.
Read "Living the Sutras, A Guide to Yoga Wisdom Beyond the Mat" by Kelly Dinardo and Amy Pearce-Hayden. This is a great book to introduce you to yoga philosophy. It's an easy read, and definitely not too "deep".
Take a yoga class. If you've never practiced before, try a beginner class first. As always, check with your physician before engaging in any physical exercise.
Practice mindful breathing. This is another component of Yoga. Refer to my previous blog post here about The Power of Breath for a simple breathing exercise you can try.
How to Get Started With The Physical Practice:
Take a yoga class on YouTube.
If you're a member at a gym that offers yoga, don't be intimidated. Just try it out. Chances are, others are just as intimidated as you are.
Find a local yoga studio and sign up for a beginner class.
If you're more comfortable learning in a private setting, you can request a private yoga class. Most instructors are more than happy to show you the basics.
Take leap of faith and trust in your body. Believe all the hype from previous first timers who testify that Yoga can be therapy.