What is yoga?

What is yoga? It's a big question and one that I can answer only from my own perspective.

meditation

For many people ‘yoga’ is thought of as a class you go to that lasts an hour, or an hour and a half, in which you perform postures (asanas). It is supposed to make you feel relaxed, happier, stronger, healthier and more flexible.

And yes that is all part of it, but yoga is also so much more than just that…

Yoga is not about already having a capable and flexible body to do complicated postures. This belief keeps many people from trying yoga, which is a shame because yoga is for everyone.

So what is yoga for me?

  • Yoga is about being aware of whatever I do, including a yoga posture.
  • Yoga is about connecting with my breath.
  • Yoga is about accepting feelings, thoughts, emotions, fears, judgments and pain. Not from my mind, but from my being.
  • Yoga is about working with my longing to know reality, my longing to be home, right where I am.
  • Yoga is about listening to my body when it talks to me through tension or fatigue and giving the body what it needs when it does.
  • Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind.
  • Yoga is about enjoying strength and flexibility, physically, emotionally and mentally.
  • Yoga is about connecting to the source of the body – the here and now – so the body can stay strong, energetic and healthy.
  • Yoga is being present when there is pain, allowing it fully without running away, understanding that pain is as much a part of life as happiness.
  • Yoga is about being present with happiness, without the fear of losing it; fully embracing it, knowing that that too shall pass.
  • Yoga is bringing together body, mind and breath.
  • Yoga is connection with myself, life and the present.
  • Yoga is about seeing the miracle that life is, and that life is much more than just the story of “me and my life”.
  • Yoga is about seeing/realizing that we are all made of the same substance, so I can see myself in everyone and everything.
  • Yoga is about seeing that everything changes, understanding the impermanence of life and knowing I am not that what changes. I am that what observes the changes.
  • Yoga is ultimately about seeing myself in everything, without holding on to a separate identity.

I’d love to know your thoughts: what is yoga for you?

Practice beyond the asanas 

For our members. If you feel inspired to explore yoga on a deeper level then why not try my program: Freedom Series. This program of 9 classes is built up around spiritual concepts in yoga, combining it with our physical practice. Explore key philosophical teachings in yoga with a great physical challenge.

Love,
Esther x

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Esther Ekhart
Esther EkhartEsther Ekhart, face and founder of EkhartYoga, brings years of personal yoga and meditation practice, therapy training and study of yoga philosophy into her teaching.