What is Yoga?

If you ask my Christian stiff upper-lipped uncle what is Yoga? He says “it’s just a load of women in leotards doing downward dog, right?” My brother, well he just like’s to home in on the negative publicity like New York times, “it’s a place to get an injury!” And my best friend says “I like to sweat, it makes me flexible, and now I can put my leg over my head!” These are just some of the opinions out there.
If you look up yoga in the dictionary this is what you might find: A Physical, mental and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The Sanskrit word Yoga means the literal meaning of “yoke”, from root yui meaning to join, to unite, or to attach.
I have slowly discovered that Yoga is a way of life. Not just body movement on a mat and a few breathing techniques. Body, mind and the soul are interlinked so finely to a stage that we know ourselves holey and completely. We are able to see things clearly and simply, through looking after our body, through Asana’s, which help build strength and flexibility also helping to purify our internal organs. Pranayamas, to purify our blood with controlled breath which, slows the heart rate down and in turn heals any disease or illnesses. Mediation, to relax our minds enough so we are able to imitate our souls, to observe, be highly aware, alert and not just act and react as our animal instinct tells us to do. We can only master this true enlightenment once we have let go of old influences, such as comparing ourselves to others and letting our ego control us. The ego influences most of our actions in life bringing many bad habits, idea’s, and emotions to the surface. We are constantly comparing ourselves with others creating a false persona we are given by others. A Yogi is able to almost regress back to childhood, to see things simply as they are and not the hidden agenda/idea that adults thrive on.
Yoga simplifies our lives. More feelings, less emotion. More observing, less involving. More looking within, rather than looking at others. Once we have shaken off the need and desire to “fit in with society” we can be “at one with ourselves” and be a truly great person.

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