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When we say 'Yoga' some of us think of it as a stretching practice or general workout or folding the body or doing a headstand... but that is really not it. At least not all of it.
I study Iyengar Yoga, In the book, 'Light on Yoga', it is said that the word 'Yoga’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ which means to bind, join, or direct towards. It also means communion or union between our will with the will of the creator, ‘feeling of oneness’ and other such definitions. Hence, the process and techniques of Yog help us experience that 'Union' and also all the beautiful emotions that come along with it.
(For ease we will say Yoga, although it ought to be Yog)
First I experienced that, Yoga was not stretching exercise only! That changed a lot.
I study ‘Ashtanga Yog’ in which 'Ashta' means 8 and 'Anga’ means limbs. These 8 limbs are 8 practices that help us experience the union and Yoga Asanas are just 1 of those 8 limbs.
So Yoga can’t mean Asanas only, right?
Yet, the best thing is that, Asanas are extremely valuable because they also give the glimpse of Union, when we do them right.
As an analogy, let’s consider the ocean as the whole subject of Yog, the asanas are drops of the ocean yet drops are the ocean itself, because they are made of the ocean, and they also make the ocean.
To experience any Asana as the whole of Yog is an art in itself. An art which everyone is welcomed to. My teacher has taught me asanas in such a way that I never knew before.
For me, Asanas helped me improve my internal body & external posture, they have given me sharpness, vitality, composure, and balance. I knew they were beyond just stretching, when I learnt that each asana could induce specific moods and alleviate specific moods, and that it’s an active meditation itself to align the body perfectly. I feel more connected to myself now and asanas feel like a sacred treasure
Have you heard the quote - "The body is my temple and asanas are my prayers.” This sentence gives an idea of reverential practice of Asanas which has truly humbled me and given a new perspective on the sacredness of a human body.
As a beginner, I won’t be able to explain in depth, so I urge you to read the book, ‘Light on Life’ which is linked here. It shares the wisdom of Yoga, of asanas and life all interlaced with simplicity yet great depth. No problem if someone still wants to take Asanas as stretching practice but I just want to say, there is more to it than the eye can see. The depth is unfathomable and a lifelong adventure.
Author: Devanshi Gala | Publisher: Kosha Life