9th of August 2017
What is Yoga? Sometimes this question pops up in my mind, even though I am a qualified Yoga teacher.
Why? It happens, and I have to convince me that I have still got the meaning, when I see all the different Yoga offers.
There is a Hatha Yoga, a power Yoga, asana Yoga, and even a facial Yoga. It was the facial Yoga that made me laugh and I was convinced I had not lost the meaning of some of my reality.
Facial Yoga is one more quick solution for the problems of getting older. The wrinkles can go away in few days with this wonderful Yoga. Why can´t we age normally and be happy about the wrinkles. If we don´t have wrinkles around the eyes we have most likely not been spreading smiles around us. Wrinkles are beautiful. They tell a story, a story of a life lived.
Then there is power Yoga. That is something I have never understood. Of course there are many things in life I don´t understand, unfortunately.
The last 2 years I have been struggling with serious illness. I had to stop going to the gym but now, finally, I have started again. I love my gym. The people are great and the customers are interesting. Some are young and some are old, perhaps not old but elderly. Some are men and some are women. Some are friendly and others are not. Just normal gathering.
During the 2 years brake I could walk and I could do some Yoga. I would not have dreamed of doing facial Yoga. That is just isometric exercises and does not deserve to be called Yoga.
Le me then tell you what I think Yoga really is.
Yoga is a way of life, an integrated system of education for the body, mind and inner spirit. This art of right living was perfected and practised in India thousands of years ago but since Yoga deals with universal truths, its teachings are as valid today as they were in ancient times. Yoga is a practical aid, not a religion, and its techniques may be practised by Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists alike. Yoga is union with all.
When practising Yoga we are nourishing our mind, body and soul. We nourish our mind by meditating, our body by Asanas – steady poses, and our soul by way of living. We eat healthy and we breathe. Yes we breath. Everyone does that, at least if we are not dead. How often do we pause and listen to our breathing? Is it deep and nourishing or shallow and difficult?
We might think that meditation is something fancy and difficult, just for the special ones. We could even think that Asanas are just for flexible young people. No, meditation is simple, you pause, breath in and out and allow the thoughts to flow. 10 minutes meditation refreshes and invigorates you. The Asanas as for everyone. They can be practised in the morning, during the day or in the evening. By using this holistic way, life becomes easier. The daily tasks bearable and the joy of life more joyful.
Today I saw a young man doing something that might be in his mind Yoga. He was extremely flexible. I watched him for about 40 minutes. Yes he was flexible. No doubt about that. But, some things he did to accomplish his flexibility made me swallow hard. There was nothing flowing and beautiful in what I saw. There was stress and sometimes it looked like he forgot to breath. When he put extra weight on his knees, to relieve tension in his lumbar, I gulped.
During my 2 years brake from my wonderful gym, Yoga saved me. I meditated, a lot, I did breath, also a lot and I ate healthy. I did very little of the Asanas. Very little. In my mind the Asanas were not the priority. They would come when I got better. Now they are slowly appearing in my daily routine. I am grateful for my Yoga teacher, who taught us the true Yoga. Why do we have to adjust everything and dilute the ancient philosophy?
My wonderful happy Buddha smiles at me every morning. He reminds me of the beautiful Chinese art, made from roots. The trees have to give way to the new fancy houses in the new districts in Chinese cities. The farmers move but they bring with them the ancient knowledge. The art of wood carving. No one can take that away. The Chinese art has not been diluted.