A definition of yoga is to unite one soul with the divine universe. To many, it may be more defined as a practice of postures, breathing, and meditation in order to achieve strength, flexibility and relaxation.
Yoga in the western society, and even more in Vancouver, yoga (and even yoga teacher training) is most often perceived as a workout, and the practice of self-understanding and love is secondary to the physical practice of the postures.
Many however still find the physical practice connects their mind and body and are able to find spiritual freedom and unity, which is what yoga is to the conscious mind. The physical postures of yoga are a great form of exercise.
They could be utilized to recover from injuries, and are a sustainable form of exercise that enhances the well-being of the body.
Yoga is the practice of self-care, which is so essential in this day and age.
The postures take care of the physical body, and the practice of mindfulness and breath relieves stress and depression.
Yoga is experiencing the present moment, which we now seldom get to enjoy due to the many distractions that surround us. The practice of clearing your mind, and avoiding distractions helps to balance the mind and body and find an inner peace.
The practice of the postures is the tip of the iceberg in yoga, as the practice of the mind is far more powerful in certain ways. It can change how we perceive the world, and give a sense of freedom. Yoga can be used as a coping mechanism for dealing with everyday problems and how the mind reacts to them.
To have a positive there must always be a negative. It is only how the negative is received by the mind that can be altered. By grounding through the body during the practice of yoga, even the most negative experiences can be embraced freely.
To many, yoga appeals for clearing the mind, and forgetting about past experiences. It can be a tool used to clear old habits and responses developed by the past. By forgetting what no longer serves the body, energy is freed up for new experiences. This new energy can be used to find a purpose, through connecting to your true self.
Yoga brings out the true self in each person. The energy that is projected during practice is what defines each individual, and this will never be captured by the clothes they wear or what they identify as.
By discovering this true self, a person can see themselves more accurately and can connect their body and mind. In finding themselves, people can better express love and connect to others. In finding yourself, you can also find your inner peace.
In summary, yoga is a practice of wellness. It can be a tool for connecting with your true self. To share yourself and your love and compassion with the rest of the world. Yoga identifies a bigger purpose in life.