What is Yoga Anyway?

Here in Western culture, yoga brings to mind middle- to upper-class, tall, white, skinny women with too much time on their hands running to the gym in between shopping sprees. Perhaps they appear a little self-centered, and extremely trendy. Yoga brings to mind all sorts of difficult, contorted poses that seem impossible for most bodies to ever twist into. I hope to help to help dissolve these stereotypes and bring to light the many benefits available to everyone through yoga. The physical aspect is only part of what yoga truly is, and the difficulty of the pose doesn’t necessarily prove that someone is an expert in the art. I have learned a great deal from the insights and wisdom of advanced yogis who have physical limitations that cause them to practice only beginner physical poses using every possible prop and modification.
To me, yoga is something I do, something I live, and something I am (becoming). Yoga is my sanity, my sanctuary. Yoga is my time for self-care, self-nurturing, and self-love. Yoga is my connection to God, to myself, and to all those whose paths I cross. Yoga can be exercise, sure, but it is much more. It is purifying, calming, energizing. Yoga supports me when it is time to let go of things that I don’t need. Yoga brings to me whatever it is that I need that I don’t know I need. Yoga is strong, yet flexible. There are different aspects of yoga to meet whatever my time allows. Yoga is my passion, which reminds me that yoga has brought me to fires of transformation, allowed me to rise out of the ashes, and helped me to have clarity in the present moment. Even though I really have no clue what lies ahead, I know yoga will help me prepare, surrender, and have faith that all will always be well. Yoga is ever-present. Yoga is my body, my spirit, and my mind.
Trying to figure out the clearest and best definition of yoga wasn’t easy for me to do on my own. So enter some help from B.K.S. Iyengar in his book The Tree of Yoga. Basically he says that “yoga is the union of body with the mind and of mind with the soul. Ninety percent of us are suffering in some way, physically, mentally or spiritually. The science of yoga helps us to keep the body as a temple so that it becomes as clean as the soul” (p. 3).
Are you suffering in some way tonight? Are you looking for a better way to deal with life’s stresses, manage pain, or bring more self-acceptance to your life? Are you ready to start looking at the world from a different perspective, developing better relationships with yourself and others, and living from a place that honors who you truly are meant to be?
Are you a healthcare professional of any type looking for new ways to help your clients bring lasting healing into their lives? Yoga can help with physical ailments of all sorts, and help ease mental health issues such as anxiety, trauma, and addictions. Yoga can bring a more positive attitude along for those suffering with long-term illnesses such as cancer.
Are you a teacher or foster care parent or work with children in any capacity on a regular basis? Yoga can help cultivate coping mechanisms, develop focus, and cultivate a sense of security.
Are you a business owner or manager? Yoga can help employees manage stress, help with communication skills, and help cultivate leadership and teamwork. Yoga can help improve work performance, productivity, and positive attitudes.
Whoever you are, and whatever your need, I would love to share space with you as we develop a yoga program unique to you.
Metta,
Nikki
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