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What is Yoga?

Yoga is so much more than a series of amusing stretches and folding yourself for the sake of folding. It’s about unity of the elements of your being, you do the poses to fold your mind, body, soul, emotions, and breath into a beautiful origami being. When you do poses, you give more attention to your mind, body, soul, emotions, and breath which makes it easier to make them more connected and helps you unify them. When you have a unified self: your posture, breathing, and mental state all improve, and you feel better.

     We need yoga now more than ever. Our modern world is full of comfy chairs, taxing social media posts and comments that cause us to lose our connection with our body and breath. Not having a fully unified self is like having a sandwich that’s missing the cheese, protein, or the sauce. It can still taste good, but it’s not as good as it could be. So, practice yoga to help unify yourself and become a complete delicious sandwich. That’s the best state of being and a customer favorite. Practice it for ten years and you get sourdough bread. Do it for twenty years and you get to add a second choice of cheese and avocado slices.

Origin

We don’t have the name of the original founder of yoga. If we did, their name would be on the list of the 100 most influential figures in history right below Leonardo da Vinci. We do know that the practice originated in India thousands of years ago. It probably was the result of someone having a bad day around 3,000 BCE. Their back was tight from a farm plow or they were stressed out over the BCE rat race.

     The ancient sages of India developed and passed down the practice. They found great benefits from doing yoga as it strengthened their bodies, allowing them to sit and meditate longer. That’s why I like to do yoga. It increases the amount of time I can sit and watch TV. Before doing yoga, I could only watch TV for three hours straight before experiencing discomfort. Now, thanks to my regular practice improving my spinal strength, I can do eight hours straight no problem. I am the perfectly unified and well-balanced couch potato. I could be meditating instead of watching TV, maybe after the next episode of Friends. 

 

Inner Space

When you do yoga, you are more fully present in the moment concentrating on breathing and poses. This will put your mind in a more calm and spacious state, which will make it easier for you to create more inner space and have control over your busy mind. Inner Space is basically the present moment. When you have more inner space, your thoughts are farther apart and it allows you to experience the present moment. You want your inner space to be the size of a mansion, not an apartment.

Once we can measure how much inner space yogis can create in their minds doing yoga, we can make yoga an event in the Olympics. The Athlete who can make the most inner space in thirty seconds gets the gold.

Where to Practice Yoga?

You can practice yoga anywhere; there is always a place to stand, sit, or lay down. Actually, never mind, that’s not correct, you can only do yoga anywhere that is safe. So, no practicing in the streets during the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, in dark alleys after midnight, during a storm, or near perilous cliffs. If you want to practice yoga at a risky place, like at the mouth of an active volcano, you should consider using a virtual reality headset. Put it on and you can experience practicing in any risky place: under a palm tree without the threat of falling coconuts or next to a pride of lions without becoming dinner.

Set Up

Here are some ways to set up your practice so you are on your way to having a harmonious session:

  • Wear comfortable clothes (so no itchy wool sweaters.) 

  • Try to have very few distractions in front of you. So, cuckoo clocks, your pet hamster’s pen, and your cellphone screen should be out of sight. 

  • Keep tempting food scents away such as bags of fast food and a lit Apple Pie scented candle, they are also distracting.  

Why Yoga?
What is Yoga Exactly?

Practicing yoga can be very beneficial for you.

  • Physical Benefits - It enhances the circulation of your blood, releases stress through sweat, improves flexibility, helpful in injury prevention, and it strengthens your ab muscles, which improves your balance.

  • Fun – Practicing yoga is fun. Grabbing your toes, putting your feet in the air, and making strange shapes is always fun.  

  • Social Benefits – Taking classes with a group or being part of the group of people that do yoga gives you social benefits. It’s like being in a political party, you are a member of the yoga party. 

Whether you're aiming to improve your overall well-being or seeking specific outcomes, yoga has the power to transform your life for the better. It’s also endorsed by over forty celebrities and one duchesses which is reason enough for me to try.

LEGO Instruction
Lego, yoga, cartoon

To help people grasp the concept of unity in yoga, I often use LEGOs as a visual aid. The many similarities between yoga and LEGOs make it an accessible and relatable way to learn and understand the practice.

Examples of how yoga is a lot like LEGOs:

  • You build a pose from the ground up, just as you build a Lego set from the base up.

  • In yoga you try to not lose control of your breath. In LEGOs, you try not to lose a piece during construction.

  • Both are easier to replicate if you have instructions.

  • Stepping on a LEGO set and stepping on a person doing yoga can both cause you to fall over.

Yoga is an absence of thought. The bare space above shows you what an absence of thought looks like.

Sanskrit

When you practice you will hear Sanskrit words now and again.  Each pose name has one. For example, Tadasana is the Sanskrit word for Mountain Pose. The first part of that word, “tada” means mountain and the second part “asana” means posture or pose. During class, if you encounter an unfamiliar word ending in “A”, such as Savasana, Utkatasana, Bitilasana it’s probably a Sanskrit pose name. If it ends in "S" such as hamstrings, quadriceps, or triceps, it's probably a fitness term. Hearing Sanskrit helps transport you away from your everyday thinking and crash lands you in asana land. All aboard!

Yoga Studios

If your body were a car, the yoga studio would be the car repair shop. They’ll do a stress test, work on your hamstrings, increase your circulation, and fix you up. When you’re done, you’ll be road-worthy again—ready to deal with life’s potholes: energy tolls, getting cut off by a coworker, and roads getting closed down because of construction.

     Life’s rough challenges are akin to poorly maintained roads. They break your body down, necessitating a return to the studio for a stress flush and energy reset. If you do yoga enough, you will improve your body and feel like a new car with better features. For example, if you develop better balance from doing Tree Pose, it’s like having anti-lock brakes to help you avoid clumsy accidents.   

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