Yoga means different things to different people, and their experience of yoga varies a lot. Some enjoy yoga as a way to stay fit, while others enjoy having the mental space for themselves or to explore spirituality. Whatever the reasons you have to practice yoga, it provides something for everybody. There’s no ‘one size fits all.’ Learn more by reading our introduction to yoga.
The Meaning of Yoga
Yoga has many different meanings. It is often regarded to mean ‘a coming together,’ referring to a connection between mind, body and breath. Yoga can be a way of living your life (the 8 limb path). It may also be a physical practice that builds stability and strength (such as Ashtanga or Vinyasa yoga). Finally, it can be a way to calm your mind through meditation. It can also be all of the above!
The physical practises of yoga are the most well known, and will often be available through gyms. These include dynamic forms of yoga that move quickly and provide a physical workout. However, slower forms of physical yoga such as restorative flows or Yin yoga are becoming just as popular. Many people appreciate the time to get into deeper stretches and a chance to calm mental chatter, which come with slower yoga.
Going Deeper Into Yoga
If you find that a yoga class once a week is not enough to get your yoga fix, visiting an Ashram can be an extremely rewarding experience. In return for your accommodation and communal living, you can explore yoga as a way of living your life. It is a place where everyone works for the benefit of the Ashram (Eat, Pray, Love).
Yogic History and Philosophy
The stories and meanings that come from the history of yoga are extremely insightful. They provide an extra layer of understanding to how yoga can affect you, and how we respond to it. Kundalini yoga, for example, works with balancing your energy centres, and increases your awareness of the geometry of your body. There’s a lot to learn and explore, and there are also a huge number of resources – from ebooks to blogs to copies of historic texts – that you can lose yourself in. Often these can be a writer’s interpretation of a historic text. The Bhagavad Gita is a commonly referenced text that has many annotations and interpretations. Enjoyment can often come from finding your own take on the writings, and what they mean to you. Just like the practice of yoga, learning about yoga can benefit everybody in different ways.
Are you new to yoga? Have you learned something new from this introduction to yoga? Let us know in the comments below.