What is Yoga?
Yoga has become a subject of cliches. There are stereotypical images of turbaned gurus, sing-song mantras, and body contortions. However, one should not dismiss yoga until they have tried it and should approach it with respect once they do. If you do you can unite your body and mind through yoga.
The term “yoga” means to unite, bringing together different polarities such as the sun and moon, left and right, male and female, and other opposing forces using ascetic methods of meditation and physical exercise. The ultimate goal is to achieve a state of physical and mental equilibrium.
Forms of Yoga
Hatha yoga from India is the most popular form in the West. It does not require double-jointedness. The classic lotus position, sitting cross-legged on the floor with the soles of the feet facing upward, comes naturally to some, but not to others.
There are also more mystical forms of yoga. Some of which may require people to abandon their jobs and society to retreat to the Himalayas. However, not everyone chooses to follow a spiritual leader beyond their immediate surroundings. Some opt instead to practice yoga at a nearby ashram or the YMCA.
Why practice Yoga?
Devoted practitioners of yoga profess that it can lead to intuitive awareness, spiritual harmony, and perfect concentration, while others use it for weight loss or to quit smoking. Some prefer yoga asanas (poses) to breaking a sweat with push-ups, while others enjoy the benefits of both. Either way, practicing yoga in moderation with proper guidance cannot do any harm. Give it a try and see if you can unite your body and mind through yoga.