Yoga is a philosophy that is said to have been around for 5,000 years! I have found two interesting quotes that best describe what yoga is.
The word yoga comes from Sanskrit, the language of ancient India. It means union, integration, or wholeness. It is an approach to health that promotes the harmonious collaboration of the human being’s three components: body, mind, and spirit. -Stella Weller
Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one’s being, from bodily health to self-realization. Yoga means union – the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one’s actions. -B.K.S. Iyengar
Okay, so what have we learned? Yoga means union and is a way of connecting to all aspects of your body while maintaining a kind of balance in your life. Why is this important? Well, with the constant stressors of life it is easy to focus on only a few things that may, for example, have a deadline while ignoring other necessary tasks. I know many parents that don’t exercise or allow any time for themselves because they have other things that take priority. The school run, getting to work, making dinner, getting kids ready for bed etc, and then they pretty much just want to go to sleep after. And to be honest, although I’m not a parent, in the past it has been too easy for me to make excuses to not exercise or take time for myself. I had school/ university as well as a part time job and sometimes I’d have just rather lie in bed and watch tv afterward rather than exercise. I saw exercise as a chore rather than something that is really good for you. Now I’m not saying other necessary tasks in life are excuses because it’s all stuff that must be done. BUT, perhaps little things for yourself can be incorporated in the limited time you may have in your day/ week.
Something that I love about yoga is that it incorporates many great things that help reduce the stress of life. Meditation is one of these ways because it allows you to just chill out for a while. You can set yourself five minutes in a day. Just five minutes, where you just focus on your breathing and let any thoughts about what needs to be done go and it allows you to relax. Just by using five minutes to focus on yourself, it may allow you to feel less stressed and less tired/ worn out. Perhaps, in time, it may even build the mind frame that you may be able to set aside some time for a short yoga sesh and achieve that ‘balance’.
What yoga means for you may be different to what yoga means for someone else, and that’s okay. If you want to do yoga just for fitness, great. If you take yoga as a lifestyle choice and incorporate it into your actions, thoughts, and your fitness, then great! Everyone is different, has different needs and capabilities. You don’t need to compare yourself to other people to know if you’re succeeding, be yourself and you’re already winning.