A common question that comes up in our yoga teacher trainings is, is this real yoga? If you take the yoga form, but focus on the whole movement rather than the endpoints, the poses, is it real yoga?
I think this definition of real yoga as the yoga form moving badly – without practice of moving well – can’t survive so much now. The science doesn’t support it. And it doesn’t feel right.
So I think this idea remains only where people expect yoga to be usually awkward, often illogical, and yet still accomplish something. It doesn’t need to make sense, just endure it.
Kind of like some parts of western medicine. This treatment doesn’t need to make sense. You don’t need to understand it, or even participate in it. You just need to receive it.
This works so well with antibiotics, emergency surgery, some treatments. And so poorly with most other things – which are now most of the things we suffer from, ranging from anxiety and depression to obesity to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.
So we need something better. We need to participate. And it needs to make sense. Beginning with what we practice, and how we practice.
There’s a beauty to this yoga form, as a way to practice what we need. But we shouldn’t think this beauty comes from the yoga. This is the wrong way around. It keeps us waiting, for yoga to do something for us. Even when it doesn’t make sense.
So turn it the right way. This beauty comes from you. When you practice ease, connection, harmony. You are this beauty.
You can decide if your goal is to be able to do the most advanced yoga poses possible for body, or point your goal to getting good at being you.
When you get clear with your goal, your whole practice shifts to support you.