There are many definitions of yoga that I have been introduced to over the years. Some say it is a state of connection within the mind, a form of meditation. Others say it is the connection between the mind and body, where the two become one. Another definition of yoga from an old mentor of mine said that yoga can be anything- any activity as long as we are present. The definition of the Sanskrit word yoga means “to yoke” or “union.” This union of yoga connects us to all aspects of our lives. Mentally, Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically– in all ways you can imagine.
There is something in this life each of us has been unable to do. Maybe that is patience, strength, balance, or clarity. Perhaps it is something more tangible that you have not been able to do, like get a certain job, or write a book. We all know what that “thing” is that we are wanting to experience. And maybe some of us don’t know what will bring us balance or happiness yet.
Practicing yoga is one pathway for us to reach our dreams.
Yoga unites us with what we are searching for. Whatever we seem to be searching for or missing in life, yoga can fill up that space when we choose to practice.
Yoga brings us balance between effort and ease, bitter and sweet, active and passive, inward and outward. If you are feeling depressed, yoga can help you lighten it. If you are lonely, yoga can tap you into something bigger than yourself. If you need to find acceptance or to let something go, yoga can provide the other polarity in order for you to feel balanced.
I have found the meaning of yoga in my life to mean “to feel” and “to experience.” It means to learn and grow from the experiences we have in life. It means to find the opposite of what we are and use that to expand our life.
The asana practice, then, represents your life. You start in your center and create an intention. You experience the movements of your body. You experience things you have never felt before. You discover and hold on. You let go, become stronger. You stretch to new limits and experience life for what it is now. You feel the emotions that are within you now. You learn from those who came before you. You learn from yourself.
As the practice winds down, you reflect on how the movements make you feel. Ending in savasana, corpse pose, your final resting place. This is the place where you can just be and observe the changes that have come into your life. You reflect on a life and a practice that was lived to the fullest, and you can enjoy this time to just be without the need to do anything. And, finally, you curl up onto your side, a fetal position, to represent making life anew. Then you rise again, ready to feel and experience more, in a new way. A new life.
This practice mirrors our lives. It gives us what we are lacking. Each new experience changes our life, and it will never be the same again. No matter how you go about to seek for change to instill balance in your life, is yoga. This is the path of yoga, for which I am grateful.