Last weekend I attended a weekend workshop with Kino MacGregor. Kino is an amazing world known Ashtanga teacher and I was very excited to learn from her.
Although the weekend was mainly focused on Asana and technique, there was some time to discuss very briefly some of the more subtle and philosophical aspects of Yoga.
At some point one of the attendees asked about the meaning of the word Yoga to which Kino responded something like this:
“Yoga is a very broad concept and in India alone there are many different schools of yoga without counting the numerous ones recently created in the west. We could spend the day talking about yoga means union, or the Sutras say this or The Gita says that, but I would invite you to ask yourself what Yoga means to you…”
Kino’s reply was excellent. It left me wondering and gave inspiration for this post.
In the most strict and brief manner, Yoga means union. However we must remember that translating Sanskrit is never that easy and, depending on the context, Yoga can translate as connect(ion), to add, contact, method, application or performance.
Going back to Kino’s question, what really made me think, and inspired this post. What does Yoga mean to me?
Again, there is not a simple answer to this question.
As a practitioner the first thing that yoga did for me was returning me that sense of possibility. Knowing that everything is achievable just by trying and then just discovering that the beauty is in the trying not the achieving.
Yoga taught me that it is ok to be me however I am, as it is not where you are in your practice that matters but that you practice.
Yoga taught me that life is great. Even in the most difficult moments life is great just as there are difficult asanas or moments in the practice.
As I dived deeper into my practice, transformation started to manifest. First, in my body, but most importantly and surprising to me in my relations.
As I became more compassionate with my body and my Self, I became more compassionate, patient and understanding towards others.
Yoga let me empty my Self with each exhale so that I could receive Love Happiness and blessings with the next inhale.
At some point I started inhaling more Love and Happiness than I could contain. That’s when I realised I had to teach.
Yoga taught me that the only point in life is giving and sharing. Every single thing in this universe gives itself back to the same universe. So why is giving so hard to understand for us humans? Why do we think we can keep taking and taking without giving anything back?
Through meditation I realised and experienced oneness. This concept and state of unity that we all talk about, cherish and long for. One day became evident. I had been thinking about it for many years I believed very deep in my heart that we are all the same, but it was only through constant Asana and Meditation practice that one day I could experience it. Even if just for a few seconds.
Yoga has shown me the worst in me and has helped me accept it and transform it. Yoga has also brought out, sometimes, the best in me.
I never thought of myself as a very creative person, but now every time I teach I surprise myself as I create a space and a moment of Yoga for me and the students.
Yoga has also taught me that none of this is really my creation but Love flowing through me.
Through Yoga I have learned to recognise beauty and Love in every thing and every one.
As I practice more I have become more open and vulnerable and have learned that vulnerability is the ultimate source of strength and power.
I understand, thanks to Yoga that I am just a small piece in this beautiful creation. However just as any other piece an indispensable one.
Yoga to me means all that: Possibility, Practice, Transformation, Compassion, Emptiness, Giving, Sharing, Meditation, Creativity, Oneness, Beauty, Vulnerability, Power and mostly, Love and Happiness.
Maybe, I think as I read this post, I failed to describe Yoga or what it means to me. But as I have learned from my practice, There’s is no failure as long as the effort comes from deep inside your heart and soul. And when I think, talk or write about Yoga, that’s exactly where words come from.
Love and Happiness,