What is Yoga?

I am often asked to write about Yoga and what exactly Yoga is? Once again I have drawn a blank.

I don’t mean draw a blank like I don’t know what it is, but to me everything is Yoga.  What isn’t Yoga? Yoga is the yumm and it’s the yuck. It’s the sun and the moon. It’s the inhale and the exhale, it’s the let in and the let go…  I mean it’s ALL Yoga… isn’t it??

Okay, maybe that is a little out there and esoteric…so let’s break down a few words to help you understand more what Yoga is and how it is everything…

Let’s start at the beginning…

Yoga:

To Yoke, Join, Union, Come together, all of it.  It’s not one thing or another, it is everything as one.  It is not just black and white . Now there are actually 8 limbs of Yoga. Then that can be broken down into smaller bits, but I won’t go into that here.

Yoga isn’t twisting your body into a pretzel, but it is a way to loosen up your body to a point of melting and relaxation. Yes there are some crazy poses, but the poses are actually called “Asana’s” which means “a comfortable seated position.” So even in those crazy twisted poses, you should still be comfy and cozy.  It is stretching or should I say, Yoga is about reaching your limit but not going too far, just enough to let go.

Yoga is not only poses… it’s breathing, it’s a way of life; it’s non-harming, it’s a way of thinking, it’s a way of cleansing your body on many levels.  In the West we think Yoga is a form of exercise.  As if everything else that Yoga is, is not as important as the poses.

The truth is we do the poses so that we can sit and do some meditation.

Ahhh Meditation…

That is another word that comes up when people think Yoga…“Meditation”

Meditate:

Or as I like to call it…“Taking my Meds.”

After teaching for more than 10 years, I have heard it all when it comes to what it means to meditate. Here is a list of some of things I have heard about Meditation:

  • You might float. (You might!)
  • You can see light.  (As well as some other amazing colors.)
  • When you meditate you zone out. (For sure!)
  • You have to chant “Ommmm” (Sure – why not?)
  •  If you open up your mind bad spirits enter and they will take over your mind.

(This one I cannot vouch for in any way, shape or form.)

Now I am sure in some cases any of these, including the floating can be true.  Even I have been known to zone out; I very well could have even been snoring.  (Highly doubtful) and thought I was 4 feet above the floor. (Very possible) But I can assure you after “Taking my Meds,” I was still me, Rachel Divine. Mz. Yoga Divina.

Merriam –Webster Dictionary defines “Meditate” as “to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over.”

To meditate is about focusing your mind on one thing.  It helps you become more present. Meditation for the mind is like digestion for the body.

If you ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and, well you get the picture; you could never really digest all of your food… ever.  In our daily life we are digesting everything we do and we do a lot. I want you to try this experiment with me…

I want you to stop reading this for a few breaths. I want you to look straight ahead towards the horizon.  Observe everything you see between here and the horizon. Don’t move your eyes, just keep looking towards the horizon and observe everything by just looking straight ahead.

Taking it one step further – listen to all the sounds…all of them: the horns honking, the birds chirping, the dog barking, the motorcycle buzzing. Don’t dwell on any of it, observe it and keep looking straight ahead..  Do it for about 3 breaths.

Now was that so hard? Your mind might have wandered, that’s okay. If you kept coming back to the horizon and your breath over and over again, that’s meditation. That was just one form of meditation.

How should one Meditate?

Well it can be focusing on your inhale and exhale.

It can be a word like “Love” “Peace”  “Joy” or “Happiness”

It can also be looking softly at the flame of a candle.

There are walking meditations – you just walk and focus on each step.

(Best if done away from cars and cliffs)

Why do we need meditation?

To help focus our mind and to digest our day, along with many other reasons such as reduces tension and can normalize blood pressure, raise serotonin and many more reasons.

One of the best ways to start meditating is with your breath, which brings in Prana.

What is Yoga?

Feb 22, 2012 No Comments by

I am often asked to write about Yoga and what exactly Yoga is? Once again I have drawn a blank.

I don’t mean draw a blank like I don’t know what it is, but to me everything is Yoga.  What isn’t Yoga? Yoga is the yumm and it’s the yuck. It’s the sun and the moon. It’s the inhale and the exhale, it’s the let in and the let go…  I mean it’s ALL Yoga… isn’t it??

Okay, maybe that is a little out there and esoteric…so let’s break down a few words to help you understand more what Yoga is and how it is everything…

Let’s start at the beginning…

Yoga: 

To Yoke, Join, Union, Come together, all of it.  It’s not one thing or another, it is everything as one.  It is not just black and white . Now there are actually 8 limbs of Yoga. Then that can be broken down into smaller bits, but I won’t go into that here.

Yoga isn’t twisting your body into a pretzel, but it is a way to loosen up your body to a point of melting and relaxation. Yes there are some crazy poses, but the poses are actually called “Asana’s” which means “a comfortable seated position.” So even in those crazy twisted poses, you should still be comfy and cozy.  It is stretching or should I say, Yoga is about reaching your limit but not going too far, just enough to let go.

Yoga is not only poses… it’s breathing, it’s a way of life; it’s non-harming, it’s a way of thinking, it’s a way of cleansing your body on many levels.  In the West we think Yoga is a form of exercise.  As if everything else that Yoga is, is not as important as the poses.

The truth is we do the poses so that we can sit and do some meditation.

Ahhh Meditation…

That is another word that comes up when people think Yoga…“Meditation”

Meditate:

Or as I like to call it…“Taking my Meds.”

After teaching for more than 10 years, I have heard it all when it comes to what it means to meditate. Here is a list of some of things I have heard about Meditation:

*You might float. (You might!)

*You can see light.  (As well as some other amazing colors.)

*When you meditate you zone out. (For sure!)

*You have to chant “Ommmm” (Sure – why not?)

* If you open up your mind bad spirits enter and they will take over your mind.

(This one I cannot vouch for in any way, shape or form.)

Now I am sure in some cases any of these, including the floating can be true.  Even I have been known to zone out; I very well could have even been snoring.  (Highly doubtful) and thought I was 4 feet above the floor. (Very possible) But I can assure you after “Taking my Meds,” I was still me, Rachel Divine. Mz. Yoga Divina.

Merriam –Webster Dictionary defines “Meditate” as “to focus one’s thoughts on: reflect on or ponder over.”

To meditate is about focusing your mind on one thing.  It helps you become more present. Meditation for the mind is like digestion for the body.

If you ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and ate and, well you get the picture; you could never really digest all of your food… ever.  In our daily life we are digesting everything we do and we do a lot. I want you to try this experiment with me…

I want you to stop reading this for a few breaths. I want you to look straight ahead towards the horizon.  Observe everything you see between here and the horizon. Don’t move your eyes, just keep looking towards the horizon and observe everything by just looking straight ahead.

Taking it one step further – listen to all the sounds…all of them: the horns honking, the birds chirping, the dog barking, the motorcycle buzzing. Don’t dwell on any of it, observe it and keep looking straight ahead..  Do it for about 3 breaths.

Now was that so hard? Your mind might have wandered, that’s okay. If you kept coming back to the horizon and your breath over and over again, that’s meditation. That was just one form of meditation.

How should one Meditate?

Well it can be focusing on your inhale and exhale.

It can be a word like “Love” “Peace”  “Joy” or “Happiness”

It can also be looking softly at the flame of a candle.

There are walking meditations – you just walk and focus on each step.

(Best if done away from cars and cliffs)

Why do we need meditation?

To help focus our mind and to digest our day, along with many other reasons such as reduces tension and can normalize blood pressure, raise serotonin and many more reasons.

One of the best ways to start meditating is with your breath, which brings in Prana.

“Prana”

Prana means “Life Force” It is the force that gives us life. Think about it, you breath in and with that amazing action, you took in enough force to keep living. Isn’t that cool?  When we practice Yoga or Meditation our breath is always important. We want our breath to flow smoothly, the same way we want our life to flow, smoothly. If you find yourself out of breath in life or when practicing yoga, take it back a notch and breath smoothly.

There are 2 functions to our breath, the inhale and the exhale. When we inhale we take in life, (Prana) when we exhale we let go, (relax) When we need to get it together a little more before we move into action we inhale. Then when everything is right, and we are ready to ride the wave of life, we exhale.  When things are stressful we need to exhale, we let go.

You might say to yourself,  “Well I can hold my breath.”  Yes, however, holding your breath can be quite stressful. See, your heart and your breath don’t always communicate well and your heart starts to flip out a little and speeds up because it doesn’t know when it is going to get the next breath in.

As soon as it receives that it starts to relax a little. Oh and the slower the exhale the more relaxed you can get and let the good vibes flow

Speaking of good vibes,

“Omm”

“Om is where the Heart is”

Om is a mantra, or vibration. It is said to be the sound made as the universe was created. Therefore it is said to be the sound of everything in the universe.  When we chant, sing, say, or think Om – we are tuning into ourselves and everything around us.

It is made up of 4 parts.  Aaaa -Uuuu –Mmmm and Silence. The silence at the end is as important as the rest of the audible sounds. In silence we find the loudest noise, our monkey mind.

Om is a mantra, or vibration. It is said to be the sound as the universe was created. Therefore it is said to be the sound of everything in the universe.  When we chant, sing, say, think  Om – we are tuning into ourselves and everything around us.

These are all wonderful tools our Gurus have taught us to use as we practice yoga, sit to meditate, so that we can find our true selves…

The Last word I want to bring up is:

“Guru”

What is a Guru? Are You my Guru? Am I your Guru?

Back in the beginning of yoga (5000+) years ago… there was a “Guru” (remover  “ru” of “gu” darkness) and the Guru had maybe 10 students.  Gurus are very learned teachers.  They didn’t become this way overnight or over a couple years, but over a lifetime.

The Guru’s watched their students from the start and they ushered them along… helping them on their personal path. They gave them attention so that they could grow and open… and sit to meditate. Since it wasn’t a classroom full of students, but a handful of them, the Guru could watch and help each one and give them attention. Since each person has their own bodies and mental state, the practice of yoga is never the same daily. The yoga would change as the Guru felt was needed for the student to progress. The Guru was there for them, not for himself, instead, giving and sharing what he knew when the time was right. Through teaching, the Guru kept learning too, and after many years their students would then become a teacher and after many years that teacher would then become a Guru to others…the cycle continuing until today. Well kind of.  In the West, true Gurus are becoming rare, though we have a lot of yoga instructors and teachers.

How does one become a Guru?

By practicing over a lifetime, by learning daily, but sharing what you know.  Remembering that slow and steady wins the race. I have been practicing yoga for more than 24 years, (not dog years, which is 168), but 24 human years and I don’t consider myself a Guru. No way, but I help guide you while you are on your path.

Personally, I like the word “Usher.” Rachel Divine, Yogic Usher. It is the Yoga Gurus who have taught us the importance to practice yoga or sit to meditate, so that we can find our true selves…

Remember, Yoga isn’t one thing…  Yoga is in Everything!

To know more about Rachel Divine and Yoga Divina Check out

www.yogadivina.com

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