I was recently asked what the point is of yoga. I hemmed and hawed and tried to explain it, but found it hard to verbalize. Today, after a conversation with captain awesome, a late conversation with my mother (the reason that I have been doing yoga since I was a toddler) and while reading one of my many ‘favorite’ yoga books, I have an answer of sorts.
Yoga: The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root yuj,
which means “to join” or “to yoke”. source
This is a crucial idea for the understanding of yoga. The practice of yoga is a mind, body, spirit thing. Yoking all of those together. Creating a whole self that is joined to all its parts.
I like to think that the point of yoga is that there is no point. That’s not really correct. I should reassess that the point of yoga is to focus on the journey. It’s not a sport. It isn’t about achieving the awesome asanas (though, that’s fun to do). It’s about what happens when you are in those asanas. Not physically, though you can’t be removed from it, but Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually.
Yoga is all about the Journey.
When I get into a pose that is difficult for me, I find myself trying to escape. Mentally, Physically, Emotionally, Spiritually. Its funny, because I see this happen with my voice students when they find a place in their voice(s) that they find uncomfortable. It’s human nature to try and run away from perceived ‘danger.’
They yoga journey truly begins (in my mind) when I can calm that fear, that ‘escape’ reaction, and move or relax into the pose. When I stop to explore my reaction. Not in a negative or positive way, but in a mindful way. What about this position makes me fearful? How can I calm myself? What can I do to make this, my practice, most effective. Would making myself more comfortable do it, or is it more to my benefit to ride out the sensations – scary though they may be?
The important thing for me, far more than the physical, is the way yoga reminds me that it’s ok to be wherever I am with whatever I’m doing or dealing with. Yoga is really about the present. Where you are now, no judgement. Breathe in, breathe out. It helps me to deal with my anxiety, stress, and emotions. Reminds me that it’s ok to be where I am. Because I won’t always be there. Time changes everything. Breathe in, Breathe out. Babies grow up, toddlers will eventually leave the terrible twos behind and move on to other (possibly more frustrating) things.
It ties in, SO MUCH, to voice. I use my yoga knowledge on a daily basis in my own voice practice and when I’m teaching voice. From the physicality to the mentality. But that’s another post entirely.
There is so much about yoga, that it can not possibly be talked about in one post, so I’ll have to do another. But here are some thoughts for the day:
- Yoga is about the journey, not the destination.
- It’s ok to be you and be where you are.
- Perfection is not the goal, nor is it achievable or even something worth striving for
- The goal in yoga is to find yourself- physically, mentally, spiritually – and be ok with what that is and where you are.
- and, my always message;
Above all things, LOVE. Love who you are, love who you’re with, love what you’re doing. Judgement is about you far more than about the people you judge and there’s no place or point for it in this short life. LOVE is what it’s all about.
and I’ll leave with a little Beatles melody:
Have you ever tried yoga? What did you think? How do you approach it?