An encapsulated overview - What is yoga? Distilled to its essence

Have you ever asked yourself these questions after a Downward Facing Dog or Sun Salutation?

  • Is there more to yoga than just the moves?

  • Does meditation have anything to do with yoga?

  • Who invented yoga?

  • How did yoga and meditation come to the West?

  • What does breathing have to do with yoga?

Let's find out

I went on a deep dive of yoga in an effort to explain what it is, what it does, and how to have a home practice to get a overall META view. I practiced with different teachers, techniques, asked teachers questions, read articles, researched, did meditation courses, and I still could not condense what YOGA actually embodies.

Tell me what's at the core of yoga?

I just knew yoga was a WHOLE LOT BIGGER than what it seemed. And I needed to know how to condense it into a bit size of contained information. Because that's who I am; A teacher who learns a lot and breaks it down. Way down. I am dogged in my pursuit of knowledge. Which kinda goes against the Eastern wisdom! 

But, as with all this Vedic technology, when you TRY you don't get what you are looking for.

When you give up trying and forget all about it; you get the answer.

But in order to get to the answer you must first try. LOLs

Basically, Yoga is a spiritual scheme with a physical element.

Right, tell me more. Way more.

Yoga involves five key points which encompass it as a whole. 

  1. proper exercise (yoga asanas, what you do in a yoga class)
  2. proper breathing (breathing and pranayama)
  3. proper relaxation (physical, mental, spiritual)
  4. proper diet (eat the rainbow of vegetables)
  5. positive thinking and meditation. (what it says on the tin)

There are four paths of yoga

Karma Yoga (do good, speak good, see good and expect nothing in return

Bhakti Yoga (a devotion to God

Raja Yoga (the postures (asanas) that we do in yoga class stem from one of the limbs (Ashtanga) of Raja yoga.)

Jnana Yoga. (knowledge obtained from The Upanishads and internalised into wisdom)

Which one do I pick? 

While each path is different and suits diverse temperaments and each individuals'  life path,  all the paths lead eventually to the exact same destination, after the lessons are integrated resulting in true wisdom - union with Brahman or God.

    As by knowing one piece of gold, dear one
    we come to know all things made out of gold -
    That they differ only in name and form,
    While the stuff of which all are made is gold...
    So through that spiritual wisdom, dear one,
    We come to know that all of life is one.
    --Chandogya Upanishad
    Now that I know this I can relax in my next yoga class. I am hoping to pop up to Dublin soon and attend a Kundalini yoga class. I have been doing the Kundalini Yoga classes online with Guru Jagat and they are fantastic. 
    Which leads me to this....why isn't Kundalini yoga mentioned in all my research? I know it's a relatively new yoga technology...but still.....great; more research for me to do.
    Michelle  x