What’s the Big Deal with Yoga?

By Assia Stepien - Yoga -

You probably hear about yoga quite a good bit these days, but can you be sure about what yoga really is? Do you know what it stands for and what it involves? I have been practicing yoga poses (yoga asanas) for the last 9 years, but the truth is I only learnt what yoga really was last summer, during my second teacher training in India.

Before this, I thought yoga was a physical exercise that would improve my flexibility and strength if practiced regularly. I also thought yoga was an embodiment exercise that would keep my attention in the body, rather than in the forever wondering mind. In fact, yoga can be all these things, but it is also something much deeper than this.

assia pose 1

Real yoga starts when you choose a sequence of yoga poses (asanas) and practice them daily, combining it with your attention focused on your breath.

Types of yoga

All physical yoga is called hatha yoga. Hatha yoga that has been organised in a series of asanas that are called either ashtanga, prana vashya, shivananada or the vinyasa flow. The sequence that you choose depends on your personal preferences. The important thing is to stay with it and practice it regularly.

Yoga and mindfulness

Daily practice will challenge your mind to stick to it in the face of your daily ups and downs. It will dare you to stay focused and connected to your breath in times of happiness and sorrow. It will call you to be present in a moment that sometimes feels unpleasant, when all you want to do is escape and hide behind a veil of your thoughts, rather than being in the here and now. Sometimes being present is painful and we have a tendency to escape into daydreams when something disagreeable is happening in our lives.

assia pose 2

As you can see this is far from simple stretching and gaining strength. Yoga could be compared to the type of work one would do with a psychologist as it is an exercise of the mind. Yoga means observing oneself and noticing one’s strengths and weaknesses. It is work towards becoming a better version of oneself.

The best way to start your yoga routine is to have an open and calm mind. Pick your preferable sequence and commit to your practice on a daily basis. You can adjust it to your daily schedule, being 10 minutes or 1 hour practice. Make sure it is done in a clean and quiet place so that you can hear your breath. It is special time just for you. Be gentle with yourself, stay focused on your breath and unfold the real you!

 

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0 Comments on “What’s the Big Deal with Yoga?”

  1. Thank you for this post. I’m relatively new to yoga and I found your point about practising each day interesting. Like a lot of other things, we need to dedicate a certain amount of time and focus each day so that (a) we find it easier & (b) also reap the benefits. I’m just doing 10 mins a day but am enjoying it. 🙂

    1. Hi Judith,
      It really doesn’t matter how long you practice yoga for as long as you feel it is the right time for you 🙂 10 min is more than nothing and who knows, with time you might want more and more 🙂 yoga is working on us on different levels and I believe that we are being drawn to it unconsciously. Enjoy your yoga!

  2. Connecting to your breath is so important. I do this by breathing meditation but I’m not always consistent. I love ashtanga yoga but again haven’t done it for a while. Yoga is fab because helps you to connect to your breath as your moving as opposed to seated meditation. I loved this post Assia. You’ve inspired me to dedicate time to daily practice of sun salutations. I guess it’s also a great comfort to know you always have your breath and can focus on that in times of stress which in turn is calming. Thanks again Assia

    1. You are welcome Nisha! That’s so true….the breath is the anchor to the present moment and it does help us stay calm in a stressful situation. I think you have a brilliant idea of doing your sun salutations! It will be your personal daily mantra. Life is pretty crazy these days….we are juggling so many things at a time….families, houses, jobs, friends and spiritual practices! And a day has only 24 hours! I’m glad I inspired you to practice 🙂 Self practice will grow your overall yoga experience for sure!

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