What is yoga?

Photo by: Brandon Smith

Photo by: Brandon Smith

“Yoga is the settling of mind into silence, and only when the mind is silent can we realize our true nature, the effortless Being of the self.” -Patanjali Yoga Sutras

There is no doubt that the “digital age” is upon us, affecting our mind, body and spirit.  Physically, we are living in a desk-driven society and sitting more than ever. This causes stiffness and muscular weakness particularly in the back and neck. Mentally, we are more agitated from interacting in a fast-paced and over-stimulated world. This leads to insomnia, digestive issues, and dysfunctional breathing patterns. Spiritually, as outside demands continually increase, we begin to lose touch with nature and our inner spirit, often times forgetting who we are and what we really want. 

Yoga is a timeless practice that has the ability to address, and accommodate your every need. Many people start yoga for the physical benefit of the postures, but over time they begin to realize that yoga is more than just postures, it is a way of life. 

Although born in the land of India, yoga has spread globally and it is beneficially impacting everyone regardless of race, culture, religion, politics, and/or financial status.  The yogis teach that every human being is comprised of body, mind and spirit, and that each of these elements have their own unique desires. The body desires health, the mind desires knowledge and the spirit desires inner peace. The goal of yoga is to individually address and satiate each of these desires while simultaneously expanding one’s reality towards greater degrees of freedom, compassion and love. 

The deepest understanding of yoga is that it is an alignment to your best self.

Unfortunately these days, when you look around at yoga, it is often identified as a  “work-out” or a “stretch”, but it is really so much more.  

The West usually centers yoga around the practices of asana (postures), while the East centers yoga around the practices of philosophy and meditation. The good news is that modern lifestyles are becoming more expansive and open-minded, and as a result both eastern and western practices are being adopted. A little bit of both perspectives could be the trick to more radiant health, a stronger and more stable mental disposition and an overall sense of well being. 

A Yoga Unplugged collaboration - written by Jennifer Reuter, edited by Sarah Burchard