What does yoga mean to you?

This is what I asked my students in yesterdays’ classes to think about. The answer doesn’t matter, just think about what yoga mean to YOU. There’s no right or wrong, good or bad, it’s about being aware of what it is for you. I like the idea on a day like this – international yoga day – to visualize millions of people all over the world practicing, same time, same day. It makes me feel connected. Connected to a community that is real, but same time not tangible, as the wider relation is rather mind based.

“But how many people know exactly what yoga is?” asks Dr Manmath Gharote, director of the Lonavla Yoga Institute, located south-east of Mumbai. “Integration of personality is the prime aim of yoga.” The five aspects of “personality” which “should work harmoniously,” he told BBC Radio 4, are physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. The physical aspects of yoga – which improve flexibility of the spine, joints and muscles – are important, he adds, but the function of “asanas” (postures) are ultimately to benefit the mind. (Quote from BBC World News)

What does yoga mean to you? Take a moment and think about it, without judging. If yoga is your fitness tool, excellent. If yoga is your entry point to your spiritual practice, great. Anything in between, wonderful. Yoga has a plenty of variety to offer and it’s up to you how you want to benefit. For me yoga is about discovering Svatma, my true nature. Connect to myself, immerse into myself sometimes feels like the world stops. It’s just me, sometimes not even that, while my light starts shining.

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