Let’s begin by defining yoga. The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit root yuj, meaning to `yolk´ or to `unite´.
At YAM, we share the view of Yogi Sadhguru, who explains in his book Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy, that yoga is a discipline practiced to align the three components of “our self”:
1. Our mind (attention, thoughts and feelings);
2. Our body (through mindful movement or mindful stillness);
3. Our energy (through mindful breathing and breathing techniques).
Why is it important to learn how to align ourselves throughout the day?
In our busy lifestyles, we are constantly pulling ourselves in many different directions. Our energy is drained between handling the present and everything we need to do; while our mind is worrying about the future and everything we want to do; and our body is left in the past, with whatever little time is left to eat, drink, maybe exercise and if lucky, sleep. The constant tension between the 3 components (energy, mind and body) can have a negative effect on our daily actions, for example when we do or say something we don’t mean or when we become too sensitive about what happens to us, leaving us tense and stressed at the end of the day.
It is important to find alignment throughout the day, so we can control our actions or reactions, towards unpredictable situations. It is true that we don’t have control of everything that happens around us (especially when dealing with kids), but we do have control of almost everything that happens within us. So we are responsible not for WHAT affects us, but for HOW it affects us.
How do we practice alignment in YAM?
Yoga is an experimental discipline that offers a wide range of techniques and practices so that each individual can find alignment through their own experience.
At YAM, we practice alignment through:
Yoga poses: to train our mind, body and breath to work together as a team and increase strength, flexibility, balance and focus.
Yoga partner poses: poses that allow new ways of interaction with our kids, while spending quality time with them.
Meditation: learning how to quiet the mind in order to listen to our body and our breath.
Breathing techniques: learning how to use the breath as a tool for movement and as a tool to find stillness.
Dancing: we experience that through dancing, our mind, body and energy naturally align to each other, allowing us to move in rhythm, towards a same direction.
Activities with our kids: learning how to play, exercise and interact with our kids from a “child’s point of view”, at the same time as we learn how to respect and admire their independence.
Is yoga a religion?
I would say no and definitely not in YAM. The beauty about yoga is that it can be practiced by anyone looking to find alignment within themselves, regardless of their gender, race, age, cultural background or religion. Going back to its definition, the general sense of yoga is for each individual to find their unity with the world, with the universe or with their higher power.
In today’s high-speed world, there’s an urgency to stop for a moment and realize that we live for this moment. Even if we work hard for the future or we love to remember the past, the only moment we have is now. If we want to stop time from flying, then let’s do it! Let’s use our energy, our body and our mind to see, to feel and to enjoy what we have now.
Thank you so much for sharing this time with me and with our community. I would love to read your thoughts at the end of this blog or hear them in person when we meet on the mat!
Enjoy a blessed day,