The Goal of Yoga Part 2
It’s worth noting this post has a prequel, The Goal of Yoga Part 1: With Love From Activewear.
It’s also worth mentioning that this post began its life as three (very looong) reasons as to why I practice yoga. They all held some truth but despite several hours of edits and rewrites (and more edits, and more rewrites!!) there was no union between the words and my reality. Ironic given yoga translates from Sanskrit to English as ‘to yoke’, meaning to be in union.
Some may say it’s a shame because a threesome of ideas makes for flashy blogging and numbered lists tend to drive more traffic. But, I like to think I stand for more than that, and, I could not bring myself to post such poor uninspired writing (hey, we all have our good and not-so-good days!).
I wanted to give up on the post altogether but instead I stepped away from the laptop and went to yoga. An afternoon unified (aka medium intensity) class with the wonderful @mj_sharp. About 20 minutes in, struggling to close the many tabs open in my brain whilst simultaneously hold trikonasana (triangle pose) and sweating in ways you don’t want anyone to witness, my yoga teacher adjusted my stance so I could move into the fullness of the asana….
Amen for my inner Mushu (see gif above!).
In that moment, I was reminded that there is only one (very short!) answer to the question…if the yoga pose is not the goal, then why do I practice yoga?
1. Yoga makes me feel alive.
Indian guru and well-known yogi B.K.S Iyengar explains:
“Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.”
Yes, I love that yoga is an ongoing practice — no end goal, no yoga premier league. And yes, I cannot deny the physical benefits of yoga — there is a reason the Lululemon manifesto includes ‘sweat once a day to regenerate your skin’. Yet, at the core of why I regularly practice yoga is the feeling that I am more alive than I was 60 or 90 minutes ago simply for showing up.
Gradually but inevitably if we keep showing up, keep getting on the mat, keep doing the practice, something will shift, something will move…. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna gently tells Arjuna, ‘You can’t be anyone you want to be because you have to be yourself’… [and] if you show up, every day on your mat,… your true self will be revealed — Amy V. Dewhurst
Life happens. But each time I show up to the mat I feel like I am rediscovering a fuller sense of myself and learning to love my true self a little more.