What is yoga?

The question that comes up frequently – what is yoga and what makes it different from any other “fitness style”?

I was teaching the Ashtanga module in a teacher training this weekend and it showed up so beautifully what yoga actually is.

After practicing the primary series, a student told me how she felt her body speaking to her. Telling her what she should look into, not just on a physical, but also on a mental level. She was amazed on how she could focus on herself, not looking at others, but go internal. She practiced yoga.

Another student was struggling a lot with postures, being rather upset after. He wasn’t even willing to share his experience, so I won’t judge, but it felt as if he was caught up in performing.

It doesn‘t really matter if your body can make it into a pretzel or if it doesn‘t find the sweet spot in a balance; what matters is being open to what an asana teaches. We receive lessons on all levels, body, mind and spirit. We can learn so much, If only we would listen.

This is where the yoga starts. 

Let me give you an example. To go deep into backbends, we need to open the front side, particularly the chest area (very simplified!), and if this is difficult for you, ask yourself where else in your life does this show up? How open is your heart? How willing are you to show up as your true self?

Balancing postures are telling us a lot about our stress level…

Asanas can work in both directions, as pointers, and they can also help to address and eventually solve an issue you might face in other ares of your life. 

Yoga isn‘t a fitness regime, although it helps on this level too!

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