Why do we practice yoga? Why do *I* practice yoga? Is it to become bendier than our friends? Is it to find peace, solitude and quiet within ourselves, or is there some higher purpose at work? Yoga, in Sanskrit, can be translated as "union". It originally comes from the root word of yuj which means "to yoke", as in to attach yourself to a task at hand with the discipline of an ox. The task at hand with Yoga is to find the union, *your* union, between body and mind; between our God and ourselves; between us and everything in the world.
I've read books on Yoga, and I've practiced Yoga consistently now for about 10 years, and I am still a work in progress and that's what I love about it. Following a Yogic path doesn't mean you become all natural running around in the woods eating nuts and berries, howling at the moon and twisting yourself into pretzel like shapes while wearing no deodorant. Far from it. In fact; following a yogic path is something that takes time, and something that can wax and wane in your life. The Yogis believe that within all of us there exists a supreme Self who is eternally at peace and when we are calm, quiet, focused and centered we can find it. The Supreme Self is our *true self*. The one we want to be, yearn to be....it's who we really are.
One of my most favoritest (yes my English teacher friends I realize that's not correct grammar but you'll just have to deal with it ;) books is "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gilbert. If you have not read her book I *highly* recommend that you do. In a nutshell it is about her life's journey through a painful divorce to the other side. Whenever I am feeling distance from Yoga, distance from myself, I read through this book. One of my favorite passages is below...
"Yoga is the effort to experience one's divinity personally and then to hold on to that experience forever. Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from your endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with poise. Only from that point of even-mindedness will the true nature of the world (and yourself) be revealed to you."
I leave you with my favorite meditation as I get ready to practice yoga this morning. I had wandered off the path for a while and now am ready to return. So this morning I will honor the divine that resides within me and be one with my Supreme Self.
Om Namah Shivaya
|ॐ नम: शिवाय:|
"I honor the divine that resides within me"