Happy end of September! I hope your yoga desires have been fulfilled during Yoga Month. I certainly have been taking my yoga to new territory through meditation and just releasing some fear around certain poses (more on this later). I planned to do a video today on the real meaning of yoga but you know how plans always go awry.
So what is the real meaning of yoga? The first thing that often comes up in nearly every yoga website’s faq is that yoga means union. You’ll see something like this: the word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root “yuj”, meaning “to control”, “to yoke” or “to unite”.
Okaaaaaay…. if I was a brand new student, this would not have any meaning to me. In fact, it might scare me. I’ve been in many conversations in the past about what yoga really means and the gamut of the conversation goes something like yoga has been “watered down” here in the U.S. and this practice has been adopted in a way so that Jane Fonda can teach it to the masses. No doubt, yoga is it’s own style here in the west and whether we do it for the sweat factor or the third eye factor, I think yoga has many meanings depending on what the practitioner’s intention. Wow! setting an intention is a big deal for some folks so being able to do that is yoga in action! This is what the experts had to say:
“Yoga is all about STRENGTH strength in the body, strength in the mind and strength deep within.” ~~Cindy
“I see Yoga as a time of being in reflection. I don’t see it as a place to “escape” my issues in life and to resume dwelling on it outside of the studio. It has helped me a lot how to have a calm, reserved demeanor during the times of stress (e.g. the heat) and difficult times in life; to get a perspective.
Whenever I lay into Savasana at the end of class, I reflect and meditate on the things I’m going through in my life and rejoicing in hope even when I am at my low points. I reflect on how much I am very thankful of how much I’m blessed in my life because of God’s loving grace through Jesus Christ, the Lord I serve.
I learned so much in yoga about how your mind dictates how you feel physically from a spiritual standpoint, it follows through. When I feel mentally stressed out and selfishly wanting to be someone that I’m not, I tend to over exert my poses which leads to discouragement and despair, and lastly physical soreness. It’s great to set yourself goals for example, wanting to achieving a certain pose – but also at the same time I am also learning to acknowledge the truth for what it is. Sometimes when I focus too much on what I want but don’t get it, I wound up being selfish and not being thankful for blessings that I have in my life.” ~~Chris
“To me yoga is about aligning myself with nature, accessing my inner strength and personal power, and participating fully, positively and enthusiastically in the world around me.
“A kind of stretch exercises. If I do it every day, when I am old, I can still stretch… I cannot understand the “mind” part though. I need to play music or do it with group of people, otherwise I would find it boring.” ~~Facebook user
“hot girls in hot poses becoming more flexible.” ~~Facebook user
“Better understanding and connection of my mind and body as well as the pursue of a delightful calm peaceful mind.” ~~Facebook user
“In a word: Release
Release from the pain I have from shoulder surgery and life long back pain. Once I get going, these just don’t hurt for the duration of the session.
Release from whatever is on my mind that day/week/month/year. This just happens, when I focus on the practice.
Release from what other people may be thinking of me. I hate to admit it, but I worry about this a lot. But when I’m doing my damnedest to get the most out of each posture, I truly couldn’t care what anyone things of me. It’s just me and where I need to get to.
And, most importantly, release from my body. Sounds weird, but when I have a really good session, I’m able to connect more with my spirit and am able to realize this body is transitory, my spirit is not.” ~~Jim
“Yoga is a way for me to stop identifying with the old habits of my mind.” ~~ anonymous
“Always thought Yoga was another form of exercise. I just realized that it is a lifestyle.” ~~Facebook user
“Yoga is my saving grace when work piles up, finals loom, and people cut me off the road.” ~~Michelle
“Is a sweat fest then I feel light, calmer, and energized.” ~~Don
“It is an hour of me time.” ~~Maria
There you have it! Straight from the experts.
So what does yoga mean to me? I originally came to yoga for the “exercise.” If I went to a first yoga class to gaze out my third eye, I would have never returned. I had a lot of “stuck energy” in me that was so thick that I would’ve needed three third eyes to see clearly. Now I recognize that my body is the container that holds my spirit and for me if I don’t clear up the container, I can’t access the stuff that matters. This is why I’ve been so attracted to power yoga. It works for me. When I work out the kinks in my body, I can see clearer and know exactly where I need to shine from. Yoga needs to be a good kick in the asana for me before I can tap into the strength of my breath, the balance I crave, the calm in my mind, and the love in my heart. Then I’m game for my third eye, hugging trees, and eating goji berries 🙂
What does yoga mean to you?