Living in the United States, it's common to hear people talk about yoga in a particular way. It is frequently perceived to be a physical practice, a workout; something you do to get super fit, to show off your flexibility, to get a "yoga body", or even just to wear your stylish yoga pants. Because of this perception, many people assume that yoga is reserved only for people who are young and flexible. Additionally, many people assume that yoga is reserved for women, specifically white women, as they currently seem to make up the majority of practitioners in yoga studios in the US.
Well, what if I told you that this common western perception of who yoga is for is inaccurate? That yoga can actually be a practice for EVERYONE, regardless of your age, gender, race, religion, and physical ability?
To set the record straight, yoga is indeed a practice for everyone. As we learned in my last blog post about the 8-limbed path, yoga is actually a practice of becoming the best possible version of yourself. It is a practice of becoming liberated from the limitations and sufferings of the mind. It is far more than a physical practice, and in fact, you never have to get into a downward facing dog in order to practice yoga.
Yoga is a journey of discovery, of "coming home" to yourself. The word "yoga" actually means "union", and this can mean union with yourself, with others, and with everyone and everything. It is a journey of discovering who you are, waking up to your personal truth, and finding peace in the fact that you are a part of something larger; you are a part of the oneness.
Therefore, yoga is for anyone who has a drive to improve them self.
Yoga is for anyone who wants to feel a sense of belonging and purpose.
Yoga is for anyone who has the courage to turn inward and see what's there.
Yoga is for anyone who wants to feel connected to them self and to the world around them.
Yoga is for anyone who wants to work on self-love.
Yoga is for anyone who wants to cultivate compassion for others.
Yoga is for anyone who is craving inner peace and is willing step into their potential.
Yoga is for anyone who is willing to listen to their inner wisdom.
There is no wrong way. There is no one way. There is only your personal journey and willingness to grow.
Yoga is for you, and yoga is for me.