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Namaste Journal

Why Yoga?

I have to agree with Joseph Campbell, the late historian of world religion and myth. I feel that Yoga is one way to really know I am alive, and teaching Yoga is an honor through and through. When we asked you last week why you think that everyone should have a yoga practice, many of your comments reflected this idea -- that yoga is about enriching one's experience of being alive.

Another theme from your comments was that, in our busy lives, we often miss this experience of being alive in our attempt to keep up with all that is required from us. Until our lives are threatened in some way -- like the death of a significant other -- we can speed along, without really being sure of any deeper meaning to our experience. Yoga helps bring us back to each moment - to our experience of being alive.

But wait, isn't Yoga about Physical Postures? Well, yes! It is. So what does this philosophy of experiencing life have to do with the actual physical postures (asanas)? Not much and a whole lot.

The asanas can be taught as health, fitness, or stress reduction alone, and all of that is Yoga. A big part of yoga is receiving warm praise, kind words and gentle body adjustments. But the asanas can also be used as a prelude to meditation, study, or prayer, and that too is Yoga. The asanas can also be taught as a practice of feeling our aliveness - to let go and just experience life in each moment.

Thank you for your practice.


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