The word YOGA is understood by many people as purely a physical exercise, a way to get stronger, healthier and more flexible.
As you probably noticed, there are no yoga competitions for who presents the best pose or who can sit still the longest. Yoga is not a sport.
A good yogi is not someone who manages to twist the body in all directions and achieve acrobatic postures. Yoga is not about performance.
The yoga postures, called ASANA represent only 1 of the 8 limbs or steps of yoga, as explained by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras (collection of ancient aphorisms on the theory and practice of yoga). Yoga is more than a physical exercise.
- The first 2 steps of Yoga: Yamas & Nyamas are 10 basic guidelines designed to improve our relationships with others and ourselves. Yoga also gives us guidelines for social relationships and for personal conduct.
- The 4th step of Yoga is Pranayama: The extension and control of the vital energy (prana) and life force. Yoga teaches us how to best use the breath to control the energy and increase vitality, to relax and enhance mental clarity. Yoga awakens us to the power of the Breath.
The last 4 steps of Yoga are related to relaxation and meditation to achieve the ultimate state of the bliss of Self-discovery that requires full understanding and mastery of the mind. This stage improves the relationship with oneself and allows us to discover who we really are.
What is Yoga?
To conclude, Yoga is a powerful form of mind-body-heart practice or a way of life that is transformative. It leads to an improved physical, emotional and spiritual well-being for Self and has a positive impact on other people’s lives, contributing towards a better World.