1-a tool to calm and control the mind (or “monkey mind”)
2-a tool to gain strength
3-a tool to gain flexibility or physical therapy
No one knows which came first, meditation or Yoga. But many believe that Yoga was a physical art created to allow men who sat for long periods of time in meditation, to be able to do so without their legs falling asleep or their body locking up. The ancients who created it over five thousand years ago, did know the importance of meditation and keeping the body comfortable, strong and vital during sitting, praying or doing still, focused life practices. Yoga was always an oral tradition passed down from teacher to student. No one knows the exact creation or origin of the art and it did not get written down until a man named Patañjali created a book of sutras for the philosophy. The Yoga Sutras were compiled around 400 CE by Patañjali, taking materials about yoga from older traditions. But many believe the exercise art form was created from watching animals stretch or babies moving in such a way as to calm or comfort themselves and also to stretch or prepare themselves for a lifetime of walking (how babies pull their toes to their head or sleep in "child's pose"). Whatever the origin, Yoga became very popular in India, but did not originate there.
Yoga is a beautiful way to finally find a way to build patience, calm the mind or as some teachers call, THE MONKEY MIND and to ease anxiety, balance hormones, adrenals, blood pressure and essentially bring vitality to ALL the systems of the body. Yoga is NOT a physical practice to just stretch out the body (biggest misconception in the world). Stretching is a side effect of a good Yoga practice. Yoga is NOT a practice to do just to lose weight and look good outwardly. Weight loss and a youthful glow is a side effect of doing the physical practice. Yoga is NOT a religion, though it can go very well with spiritual intentions or prayers, which is lovely, but not required. Yoga is NOT a strength training practice, though it does offer fantastic physical strength as one moves through it and practices the discipline. Yoga was created for a whole person or a whole body (which includes the mind) to experience more comfort, peace, youthfulness and joy within the life experience.
When doing any fast paced Yoga practice, one MUST know the basics in proper alignment and form BEFORE moving and jumping around. Once you learn these basics, you can begin to build. You will often see Yogi and Yoginis jumping and seemingly flying around a mat or Yoga studio. So if the general public will often go take classes where they want to sweat, burn calories and build strength and they will sometimes hurt themselves if they push too hard or go too fast too soon.
A long practice of the basics in form can lead the practitioner to one day experience an awakening in their body that is unparalleled to anything I have seen elsewhere. Just like a gymnast. You do not see a beginning gymnast approach a floor routine of jumping and flying around until they know how to warm up, do a cart wheel and a back bend safely and then properly build upon that. Yoga should be handled in the same manner. But sadly, far too often, it is not…especially in home videos.
When I teach a Yoga class, I never know who is going to appear in my class each day and time slot. In America, we do “drop in” formats, so there are all levels coming to all different kinds of classes. So I have to teach three to four different modifications for each pose. Yoga SHOULD be handled like a school, where you begin, learn the basics and then graduate to the next level and the next. But we don’t do it that way in modern society, so we find ourselves hearing a lot of people saying, “Yoga is hard, or I hate Yoga.” It is sad to me. Because it can be so amazing, life transforming and beautiful.
Then we have the fitness industry. We teach aerobics and fitness instructors weekend workshops to offer “Yoga classes.” This really is scary, but I love it at the same time because I love the popularity this art has gained! Everyone needs Yoga! So Yoga’s widespread popularity is good but people should go out and about to classes with care.
My Yoga certification was intensive. We got up at 5am and worked until about 8:30pm each day, in a retreat format, for about 3 weeks. I still was not totally equipped to offer a safe and thorough practice to students even after all that training and my entire time as a student combined. I know I was not ready because I got hurt, myself. But from that, I learned and it made me a better teacher, in the long run. Check out my video on my experience and how I begin to discuss Beachbody’s newest program, PiYo:
My PiYo Review and Warning (also shown in video box below blog post)
If you are going to do PiYo, work with ease and great care. Use your belly strength to guide through the workouts. Ask your coach, or me if you have any questions at all. It is a good program and I hope it gets a lot of people moving in this way who might not have ever worked out or done this kind of activity. But as I say in the video, go find an awesome Yoga class, try it! Keep going. We ALL need it, I promise! It is a passion of mine beyond no other. Just operate as your own Yoga instructor and move as safely as you can, know your limits, challenge yourself safely and try, try, try to enjoy!!!
For copies of my free Yoga tips and practices, please see me at my YouTube page:
My YouTube Page
Thank you so much for visiting my blog! I love to connect with people, so please comment and email me and talk with me about anything I have written that might have spoken to you!