Yoga is defined in many ways. My favorite comes from the first three lines of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Roughly translated, they state:
Now begins the practice of yoga
Yoga cultivates steadiness of mind
Then one can dwell in their true splendor
The best definition of yoga comes from direct experience. There are many styles of yoga and ways to practice. I encourage my students to explore all the limbs of yoga, and focus on what deepens their own sense of “true splendor”.
Light on Yoga and Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by B.K.S. Iyengar
The Heart of Yoga T.K.V. Desikachar
Wherever You Go, There You Are Jon Kabat-Zinn
Yoga the Iyengar Way Silva, Mira & Shyam Mehta
Yoga Body, Buddha Mind Cyndi Lee
The Bhagavad Gita translated by Eknath Easwaran
The New Yoga for People Over 50 Suza Francina
Yoga Practice Tips
- Make your practice fit your lifestyle. Be realistic about how much time you can devote to your practice. Sometimes, less IS more!
- Find a comfortable space to practice, wear comfy clothing, and have a relatively empty stomach.
- The ultimate goal of yoga is to promote well being. Don’t confuse pain with challenging yourself. Respect your body and its limits. There is no “one size fits all” yoga practice.
- Elements of a typical practice:
seated warm up
final relaxation (savasana)
- It isn’t necessary to do a large number of poses. Choose poses that incorporate a variety of movements – for example, downward dog is a forward bending pose which opens the shoulders, lengthens the hamstrings, strengthens the arms and challenges core muscles.
- Practice with a friend or use a video, podcast, or book to help keep your practice interesting.