2. What is not yoga?
There is a big misconception about what yoga really is and why one should do yoga. When I ask people this question, I get a whole range of typical answers.
Most people think that yoga is a type of fitness exercise. It helps you to lose weight. It helps you to be flexible, fit, healthy and strong. Some people go a bit further and say it helps you to balance your body and mind. Some people say it helps you to achieve inner peace and well being.
These are the answers given by people who have done some kind of yoga at least once in their lives. There are also people who have never done yoga. Many of them consider yoga as a trendy and fashionable thing. They believe that if you can stay at some impossible posture of your body or stand on your head or something like that, you are in yoga.
And there is also the intellectual/scientist type. During a chat a smart looking guy told me,
“These days I see all these people doing yoga. It is considered as something so cool and hip. If you are not doing it, you are uncool.”
“It is true, indeed. But have you ever tried it?”
“No, I try to avoid following silly trends.”
Another time I overheard a conversation, “Oh, you are a scientist, of course you don’t believe in yoga.”
I was speechless.
In order to understand what yoga is, we first need to understand what yoga is not. The physical aspect of yoga is only a tiny part of yoga. There is a name for this type of yoga with body postures. It is called asanas.
Although asana is a small part of yoga, it is not insignificant. Asana can be helpful in preventing diseases and helping you to live a long healthy life. My friend and yoga teacher Sarah likes to say, “You cannot have a healthy mind without a healthy body.”
If you only care for your body, a healthy body is the only thing you will get. But is there something more to care for?