by Mike Miller
I had a good conversation with a friend of mine today about yoga. We both have practiced and learned yoga from teachers who seemed dedicated to the true principles of yoga.
What are the "true principles' of yoga? good question. I believe in the eight limbs of yoga as described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. The eight limbs are: Yamas (how you treat others), Niyamas (how you treat yourself), Asanas (poses - what most people associate yoga with), Pranayama (breathing), Pratyahara (attention and withdrawal of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (finding peace). These are my descriptions of the 8 limbs as I see and practice them.
Yoga pose Downward Facing Dog in The Yoga Collective AK studio, Anchorage, Ak
In our conversation, we talked about how it seems yoga is going the way of aerobic exercise. More and more yoga classes seem to promote hot and vigorous yoga - a workout in a hot room. To me, yoga is about the mind as much or more than the body. Sure, practicing yoga asanas regularly will lead to a stronger and more limber body. Yoga will also deliver a stronger and more limber mind if one practices with intention and focus.
I believe yoga is for everyone, no matter the shape, size or level of fitness. At any class at The Yoga Collective Ak (TYC), one will practice elements of all 8 limbs of yoga. One will not find a hot room (85 deg +). One will not get an aerobic workout and leave hot and sweaty. All of the teachers practice the true intent of yoga - which can lead to achieving what is described in the third sutra: calming of the fluctuations of the mind. This peacefulness will serve each of us in this holiday season and onward.
See you in a yoga class soon!