What is Yoga?
Depending who you ask this question, can dramatically change the answer you receive! Yoga is an Ancient Indian system of tools and practices to achieve enlightenment, and over the years it has evolved and grown to serve people of modern day living from all cultures and backgrounds.
In the purest sense, here at Artemis we believe Yoga is about cultivating a healthy relationship with yourself. Let’s face it, with our current lifestyle choices there are not many of us who can or who even want to retreat to a mountain for months, maybe years to meditate on their own to reach Samadhi ( enlightenment ). But what we can do, is carve out time to be present, be aware of our breath, begin to cultivate more kindness towards ourselves and create more awareness for our body, mind and wellness. This is what modern day Samadhi is about.
Whether you are stepping onto the mat in the studio, doing the dishes at home or stuck in traffic, Yoga can be practiced anywhere by anyone. Yoga is about connecting back to yourself. Finding a sense of bliss and ease in every moment. Easier said than done? … oh we know! But it is an ongoing journey that is unique to everyone, it takes consistency and patience, but the benefits are well worth the work. As we cultivate more present moment awareness, we can begin to notice our “dukkha”. These are the things that cause us problems. Whether that be aches, pains, thought patterns, unnecessary worry, anything at all that causes us suffering and stops us from being at ease with the present. We can then use our Yoga practice to help nurture our mind and body to bring us back to a place of balance and harmony.
The asana practice (poses and postures) that are so commonly associated with how people identify yoga, is only a fraction of what the practice actually is! You can be holding a wonderful tree pose, but if you are holding your breathe, not thinking about your body, judging yourself for wobbling, then you are not really doing Yoga. The poses we do are a simply tool to help bring more awareness into the present moment, bringing an assortment with health benefits along with them … but they are not our end goal. This is why we believe yoga should be accessible to everyone, regardless of abilities. No matter who you are there will be a practice that is suitable for you.
Remember, Yoga is a unique and highly personal journey of creating a healthy relationship with yourself.
So, what is Yoga? You tell us. What is Yoga to you?
Click here to view our yoga classes at Artemis.
Words by Sarah Thomas (Teacher at Artemis)