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So, what is Yoga *really*?


While the hormonal heterosexual teenage boy may imagine hot women with their butts in the air, and the more conservative Christian may imagine freaky chanting and polytheistic hedonism, Yoga is none of that, and so much less …

Boiled down to its core, Yoga is simply the practice of quieting one’s mind.  Everyone can do it, from the young to the old, the atheistic to the religious, the athletic to the sedentary.  The man who wrote the original book on Yoga, Patanjali, theorized that we can quiet the mind (and therefore experience our truest nature) through eight basic practices, one of which, of course, is the physical stretching that so many people envision, and it is these eight limbs altogether that make up Yoga:

  • Dealing with others in a moral way (Yama)
  • Dealing with oneself in a moral way (Niyama)
  • Those Yoga postures we all think of (Asana)
  • Controlling the breath (Pranayama)
  • Simplifying the senses and fasting (Pratyahara)
  • Concentration (Dharana)
  • Meditation (Dhyana)
  • Self-awareness (Samadhi)

The real Yoga, which possibly dates back as many as 10,000 years (though no one is absolutely sure) is the practice of all eight sutras, which gracefully unify one’s body, mind, and spirit,  allowing one to experience that universally-coveted stillness (some might replace the word stillness with “inner peace”).  Yoga can’t be “for weight loss” (though weight loss could be a side effect), it can’t be “for your skin” (though glowing skin is a result of practicing), it can’t be copyrighted and “owned”, all of which we in America have come to believe.  True Yoga is as much a practice of self-love, self-improvement, and compassion, as it is a physical exercise.

The beauty of Yoga is that you don’t have to practice all eight limbs, you don’t have to understand the philosophy behind the original practice, you don’t have to be anything you’re not in order to feel the life-changing effects that just a little bit of Yoga in your daily life can bring.  Practicing a few minutes of meditation a day followed by a handful of Asanas and a bit of conscious slow breathing can change your life.  Your mind will slow, your body will become more limber and balanced, your sense of self love will increase, you will feel radiant, you will start to experience self acceptance like never before. For more information on Yoga, meditation, pranayama, and to download free classes, check out this website  



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4 comments on “So, what is Yoga *really*?

  1. beckymayhem
    March 23, 2013

    Great post – you’ve summed up many of my own thoughts on yoga very succintly!

    • Anitra
      March 23, 2013

      Glad you think so! Thank you for reading. :)

  2. chrisbkm
    March 23, 2013

    What a lovely, simple post. Like a long slow stretch perhaps… or a conscious breath. Thanks for this.

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This entry was posted on March 22, 2013 by in Healthy Body, Healthy Mind, Spiritual Philosophy and tagged , .

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