What is Yoga & Why Do We Practice?



There are so many unrealistic representations of yoga in the media (particularly social media) that put undue pressure on people to achieve a certain form to prove that they are good at 'doing yoga'. Yoga is actually not the attainment of a perfect pose, perfect body or perfect looking instagram photo. Yoga is a constant practice, a constant process. As my teacher Sharath always reminds us, 'Yoga is the change that happens within you'. 

This is clearly outlines in the Yoga Sutras

Yogash chitta vritti nirodhah. 
Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam.

i.e.

"Yoga is the controlling of the fluctuations of the mind
Then the seer rests in its true nature."

The practice of yoga asana and a seated practice of meditation and pranayama help facilitate this change, i.e. they help facilitate the yoga that happens inside of you. Practiced regularly, over time will help strip away the ego to reveal your true essence.

The physical benefits of yoga - i.e. a stronger and more flexible body are a bonus but are not what yoga is actually about. In fact, if they build the ego rather than strip it away then they aren't demonstrating the practice of yoga at all. It's not to say that one who is practicing perfect asana isn't practicing yoga; it is just that perfect asana isn't the end goal. The goal is the process of change that happens to you through the act of regular practice.  

It is my deepest intention to maintain a shala that teaches authentic yoga and remembers that the end goal is to simply see clearly that you are already exactly where you need to be...

I would love to hear your thoughts....