Yoga is and has been many things to many people for an incredibly long time. From simple exercise to religion to overall lifestyle, this multifaceted activity holds a special place in peoples’ lives all over the world.
Therefore, answering the question “What Is Yoga” is a complicated and mind-boggling endeavor. For me, yoga is connection. Connection to breath; connection to self; connection to community. And, hopefully, through this course, I will find even more connection to things I may never have imagined.
To begin with, when I step onto my yoga mat in Vancouver, the first thing I do is connect to my breath. Concentrating on the feeling the air moving past the tip of my nose and into my lungs gives me a sense of physical calm and connectedness to my body.
I can imagine the air moving into every cell of my muscles; joining each part of me into a perfectly designed machine.
I can also imagine my inhalations bringing love and peace into my body, while my exhalations expel negativity and pain. Connecting to my breath both on my mat, and throughout the day, is a wonderful way to bring yoga into my life at any given moment.
Yoga also means connection to my self. Connecting to my self through yoga has been not only a challenge, but also a happy coincidence. There is something that happens on the yoga mat, as one connects to breath and body, that goes beyond physicality. In clearing the mind and calming the body, I find myself able to listen to my thoughts more closely.
What I hear is not always the same; it is not always positive, nor is it always negative. But the act of listening teaches me about what I have going on within, that gives me deeper perspective and connection to myself.
Beginning to understand this connection is teaching me a great deal about the responsibilities I have to my own life, as well as the lives of my loved ones. I hope to explore this more through the teacher training program.
In The End
Finally, yoga means connection to community, not just the physical community of Vancouver, but the yoga one in general. first learned that in yoga teacher training. When I go to a yoga class, I feel part of something greater than myself. In class, we connect to a shared breath.
Literally, we are breathing the same oxygen; and figuratively we are breathing together as one through asanas and poses. The people in my class; the people who frequent and work at the same studio; the people I have never met who make yoga a part of their lives: we all have something in common.
We are a community connected through yoga. Feeling like we are a part of a community is so important to everyone’s well-being, and informs many of the decisions we make about how we live our lives.
In learning to teach yoga, I hope very much to gain a deeper connection to my breath, my self, and my community. I am also looking forward to deepening my understanding.