Yoga and its History

November 25, 2012

Well November has been an exceptionally busy month and I am feeling 'yogaed out' (if that is possible) but then again - you can never have too much of yoga :0. I have been very busy and completed further teaching training, I am now a fully qualified 'Yoga for Healthy Lower Backs' teacher and a 'BWY Foundation course teacher' and I will be offering these courses early next year. More information on these courses will be published shortly.

During my Foundation course teacher training I had to deliver a thirty minute presentation on 'The History of Yoga' (and present to other yoga teachers and the assessors). It is very interesting to see the lineage of yoga and how it has evolved over thousands of years and when in comparison with today's yoga in the West. Yoga in our Western society is so far removed from 'traditional' yoga. There is always lots of debate about yoga and what is 'traditional' and what is 'modern'. Yoga means many different things to people and sadly in the West some people only see yoga as a form of 'exercise', but yoga is so much more, it is a science, a lifestyle, a belief system, for some it can also be a spiritual path and there is often confusion with people thinking yoga is a religion. Many people get confused by the use of the word 'God' in yoga. In the ancient texts and the philosophy of yoga, 'God' is mentioned but it is not the 'God' that many people think it is, it is in fact the 'God' within us all the Self, the Atman. If you are interested and want to see a few clips of what yoga means for some people go to you tube and watch clips 1-4.

Some people do not like this 'diluted' form of yoga but whether we agree or disagree with it, yoga has survived thousands of years and it continues today to evolve and meet the needs of its followers. I wonder what the future of yoga is and how it will look thousands of years in the future.

It is often in people's hour of need they discover yoga or they are re-acquainted with yoga. Yoga can help on some many levels. It amuses me that people often think that you have to be able to touch your toes or get your leg behind your ear to practice yoga :) this is not so. Yoga is about being present and involves mind and body. If I am practising the asanas (postures) and my mind it not present and I am not in the 'now' then this is for me is just 'exercise', going through the motions. If I practice with my mindfulness, mind and body present, I am totally aware of my breath, my mind, my thoughts, my actions, body awareness, my habitual patterning and any signals my body and mind are giving me, this is 'yoga'. Yoga for me is a lifestyle and not just about being on my mat, I practice yoga daily, the eight limbs of yoga, the yamas and niyamas automatically without even thinking about it. Yoga has had a profound effect on my life and I cannot imagine life without my yoga practice and belief. Yoga is not about 'I' or 'me' it about letting go of the 'ego'. Leaving your ego at the door, it is not about competing with your neighbour, it is not pushing or forcing your body into a position, it is about listening to your body and mind and letting go, undoing and understanding the big question 'who am I?' Yoga is compassion and kindness and so much more. This is why I am passionate about yoga.