The traditional definition of yoga is ‘to yoke’, meaning to bind, join together in union. What exactly does this mean and why should you care? As a yoga practitioner for over 20 years, let me give you what I have found to be true. My yoga has meant different things to me at different times as my practice changes and so do I…such as strength, flexibility, relaxation, endurance, peace.
But the true meaning for me has always been yoga= peace. Or rather, Yoga=space=peace. Space to unite body and mind and integrate all the bits and pieces of life into the whole. Ok, a little woo-woo sounding, hang in there. We need space:
- Space to breathe. Without this, there is no peace
- Space to notice and be in your body: aches, pains and all. The space to allow them to be there without resistance.
- Space to accept this moment as it is: not to accept reality is insanity
- The space to stand back and observe that our thoughts are not necessarily true.
All of this space allows us to widen the gap between everything that triggers us in life causing us to react sometimes in unfavourable ways, and allows us to respond in a way that, given whatever the circumstances are, seems the wisest. This is the union of yoga.
Without space, there is no peace. But, you don’t need to practice yoga to find this out. My belief is that everyone has access to peace right here and now, and that it doesn’t have to be complicated… and you don’t need to hang out on a mountain top to find it.
Try it now. Ways to find space in your life:
*De-clutter your environment… or just one corner where you can find some space.
*De-clutter your mind. Make a commitment not to worry about that which you cannot control.. like worrying about other people!
*Simplify your routine. What can you automate? What can you do now that will simplify your week? What can you absolutely let go of?
*Breathe regularly and fully.. insert space into your activities, your chores, your conversations. Let there be a pause.
*Find time to be silent. Constant interaction is energizing for some, draining for others. Either way, find time in your day where you can be quiet and comfortable with yourself. If it’s uncomfortable, then find out why.
*Be in nature: nothing is as spacious as a vast blue sky or starry night. Notice how small you are, and your thoughts that seem so big are minute… let them go into space, where they came from.
That is yoga.. unity of body and mind and acceptance of it all… even if just for a minute 🙂
1 thought on “What is yoga? Probably not what you think it is!”
Thanks for the reminder. I do a mindfulness practice with my yoga practice daily and it does help to keep the peace in my head where everything begins. Some times 10 minutes sometimes longer. The world is a better place if we all practice a bit.