There’s a sign on the Ave, an advertisement for hot yoga, that reads: “Do hot yoga, look better naked.” I hate that sign.
I’ve been doing yoga and meditation for years. One of my goals in the next few years is to get yoga-instructor certified so I can teach. And the idea that yoga is there to get your body slim and fit, that it is only a material thing, is one of the misconceptions about yoga that frustrates me. Yoga, at its core, is about the relationship between the mind, the body, and the soul.
The core of yoga’s philosophy is that everything can be supplied from within the individual, whether it be physical exercise or spiritual enlightenment.
Yoga originated more than 5,000 years ago. No one is really sure exactly when, because the practices are often only passed down from student to teacher. Yoga originated from the need for self-understanding, a harmonious interaction between the mental and physical. It has been recommended by doctors for aiding a number of ailments, including back pain, arthritis, depression, and other chronic conditions.
Despite the current surface-level yoga that many people practice, a lot of yoga was originally based in deep meditation. Its purpose was to work toward the ultimate step of classical yoga, samadhi, the Sanskrit word for contemplation. Samadhi is the realization of the essential nature of the self. In fact, three of eight steps have almost nothing to do with the asanas, or the physical exercises, of yoga.
I think a lot of people are scared away from yoga because it seems like an “athletic” exercise, but I can assure you it’s not. My legs look like cold spaghetti when I run but I can still do yoga. Yoga is about trusting your body, about letting it do exactly what it needs to do. I mostly practice alone in my apartment, and I use what I’ve learned to do in yoga class on my own. Practicing yoga is about letting go and understanding yourself on a physical and mental level.
Being flexible isn’t a requirement for a good yoga practice. If you haven’t done it before, I suggest signing up for a Hatha yoga class. These are more pose-based and slower-paced. Hatha allows you to explore your body at your own pace. It also gives you a chance to focus on breathing techniques. (MORE)
Source: Daily UW