"Yoga isn"t about the poses. By inviting gentle self-observation, yoga practice can empower us to guide our thoughts, feelings, and actions with greater intention.
While in the western world, the word "yoga" often brings to mind flexible students twisting themselves into various poses, yoga postures (asanas) are a small part of a holistic yoga practice. In fact, the earliest yoga texts barely mention asana at all. The truth is that anyone can practice yoga, even with the most limited mobility. Yoga is a process of getting better acquainted with ourselves and learning to guide our thoughts, feelings, and actions with greater intention.
Often translated as "union" or "yoking," yoga practice helps us bring our attention to the here and now, where all our power lies. This often begins with breath practice. The breath is a simple but powerful tool for bringing attention to the present moment. Taking the time to be fully present with our physical, emotional, and psychological experiences provides rich opportunities. Yoga and meditation can help us get to know ourselves better, treat ourselves with the compassion and respect we would show a beloved other, and develop the strength and steadfastness to live in alignment with our inner wisdom.
Asana can support these goals by providing a physical expression and felt experience of the qualities we wish to nurture, bringing inner states into sharper focus. Each pose gives us opportunities to notice how our bodies are feeling on any given day. Asana also provides a window into how our thoughts and emotions respond to sensation, movement, and the oscillation between effort and ease. With this insight, we can develop greater mastery over our nervous system, thought patterns, and physical condition."