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The meaning of yoga varies among almost everyone. I practiced yoga for quite a few years before I decided to enroll in yoga instructor training. I always knew that there was more to yoga than just postures and breathing but I definitely didn’t realize how much I didn’t know until I really dived into my own personal practice.
There have been many different interpretations of the actual word yoga over the years. One translation that I’ve seen before is “to come together” and while coming together gives a physical impression, it can also mean bringing the mind and the body together.
But what does all of that mean to you? Yoga practice to me means a combination of using our body, breath, mind, and more. It means treating others right regardless of how they treat you. It means being honest and selfless and forgoing your ego each and every day.
I’ve faced multiple challenges so far (and I know I have quite a few more to face). For example, I am not as flexible as a lot of people in my class.
Also, I’m not in the best physical shape. As a result, I often found myself peeking at other people on the mat during group classes. One of the best things that I could have learned so far in yoga teacher training is every step of progress that we make is yoga. I need not be concerned with someone else as my practice and my progress is about my own personal journey. This is a good reminder to also celebrate every accomplishment, even ones that you think aren’t a big deal. (It is).
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra discusses avidya which means an incorrect or false comprehension of something. When we don’t completely understand a situation, we generally don’t handle it in the correct manner. We continue this routine over and over until we get used to it and accept it as a new norm. One of the goals of yoga is to decrease the avidya in our lives….to make things clearer.
It can be overwhelming to know what I want to get out of my yoga practice and to see how far away from that I am. Because of this, I carve out small things to work on at one time. I’d recommend the same for you! Right now I’m focused on one of the branches of avidya which is the ego. (This branch is call asmita in the Yoga Sutras).
Our ego leads us to believe that we are better than others and that we are always right. It hinders us from seeing other people for the wonderful beings that they are. It impedes us from forgiving. Often times I can feel my ego stepping up and it can be difficult to bypass it. I work on this daily.
One thing that keeps me motivated and going is keeping in focus the person that I ultimately want to be. I try to make better choices daily. I also constantly remind myself that tomorrow is a new day to try again.
What does yoga mean to you?