The practice of yoga is ancient. But, we’ve been dealt some misinformation from the media and the fitness clubs regarding yoga. Fake news. Yes, we stretch, move and create shapes with our bodies, but yoga is actually an internal job; it is the experience of bliss.
BLISS? No, kidding. It’s the inner state of knowing yourself to be completely whole and perfect, just as you are.
Just like in my public school teaching days, let’s unpack this. What is yoga?
We’ve been told that it’s roughly 5,000 years old. But you might be surprised that what we know about the original yogis is very little and the details are sketchy. Wrapped up in ancient texts written in a coded style of sanskrit leaves the interpretation of yoga history a bit of a mystery.
Just like Oprah, here’s what we know ‘for sure’ about the ancient practice of yoga:
- it involved meditation
- it involved chanting
- it involved finding a comfortable seat
That’s it. No crazy poses here.
One of yoga’s founding fathers, Patanjali (whose name and origin are short on details) wrote about yoga in very short sentences, called sutras. He clearly states in Sutra 2.1:
“Yoga is steadiness in the field of the mind.”
Our inner state reflects our outer state; yoga occurs when the mind is still. Yet, even when we set our internal GPS for Peaceful City our “monkey mind” continues to take us in circles; we are constantly re-calculating. Breathe.
So, what’s the next step for us? Should I still go to yoga classes? The answer is yes, of course! But, consider changing your focus a bit. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself before and after class:
- How am I feeling right now?
- What would it take for me to shift to a more peaceful state?
- Can I release tension and tightness in my body and in my mind?
Finding a path for inner peace can be started at any time. It’s a simple process, but not an easy one. Decide to move forward, one breath at a time.
Bonus: sweating, optional.