Why Practice Yoga?
Good question! Even though I’ve been practicing yoga for over a decade now, both as a dedicated student and as a teacher; I still find it a challenging question to answer. The origins of yoga date back over 5,000 years. As it was known to be an oral tradition well before the first written record came about (around 1500 BCE) one can only speculate its real beginnings. According to Wikipedia, the word yoga has its etymology based in the pre-classical form of Sanskrit that dates back to the early part of the second millennium BCE. Here we find the root word yuj translated as “to add”, “to join”, “to unite” or “to yoke”. The original context was the yoking or harnessing of oxen or horses but the parallel translation was to yoke or join together one’s personal consciousness with the universal consciousness. This union of the Self includes the integration of one’s physical, mental and spiritual energies in which brings about a harmonious state of wellbeing.
Sometimes yoga for me is simply a way to reclaim my body and to get things flowing through my limbs and spine after hours of hunching over a computer screen. However, yoga is much more than flexibility and strength… although you will become more so. Yoga is also a way to focus the mind, to invite in a calm mind. A daily practice provides the means in which you can practice Svadyaya or self-study. Self-study is to be aware of these tendencies; the inner dialogue, the words we speak, the habitual thoughts we have.
So I practice yoga to live the best life I can live. To fully experience each moment presently, as it is right now. To be accepting of this body and this mind, without the need to change anything. The true-self. The heart.