Is Yoga Universal?
Sitting outside a café in Brooklyn, NY with friends (fellow yoga teachers) watching people pass by with yoga mats slung over shoulders, as we sip artisanal coffee we know that yoga is everywhere. In advertising, conversation, fashion, music, mainstream media, and even schools. So the question is no longer about yoga being universal and available but the focus shifts into who is practicing and why?
Yoga is the art of leaving nothing out, including those who practice and those who don’t. As one who practices yoga, my self-inquiry lies inside the connections I have with people and the relationship I have to the world. Yoga has turned from something to attain into something to bring me closer to myself, people around me and the world. The purpose of my practice is to live inside of my experience, inviting the full spectrum of life to flow freely.
In an article I was reading about the origin of Yoga, David Gordon White spoke about the first place that the word “yoga” showed up in a text. Sanskrit is a contextual language, meaning each word has multiple definitions dependent upon the surrounding dialogue. In the context of the Geranda Samhita, the word yoga meant, “war-time”. Meaning that the purpose of yoga was to awaken the warring states of being in order to witness the energy and build resiliency. Is this relevant for our modern culture? To understand where this tradition started is vital and yet to pick and choose from this vast practice to create a greater sense of well-being is just as compelling.
Along this wide spectrum of tradition and practice, where do you lie? What is the purpose of your practice? If you could get anything out of your yoga practice, what would it be? What is keeping you from getting that? Do you believe that you can attain that? Who can you reach out to support you in getting what you need?
In my opinion, yoga can propel you towards your true nature and your true calling as long as you believe in and skillfully nurture and engage in the relationship.