Let me repeat: Yoga is a Form of Meditation. You might think of yoga as an exercise, or a physical practice where people are very fit and flexible. Yet the ancient roots of yoga tell a different story. The roots of yoga go back many thousands of years and it is only within the last 150 years that Western world has adapted this practice and called it by many names and types. Yet yoga’s benefits are part of a greater system of health that includes daily practices, called “tapas” which arise from a traditional practices or “The 8Limbs of Yoga”.
The essential health system calls for taking care of one’s physical body with cleanliness, eating well, breathing practices and then, after established in these daily routines to add a meditative side to these skills :Yoga and Meditation. And herein lies the difference between exercise and yoga practices. The breath-centered practice of yoga asks only to be “stable and easy”. How that translate in the HOT Yoga and all the permutations our Western culture has spawned, that is a much larger discussion.
Simply coming back to the intention of yoga as a form of healthcare and well-being. Yoga is movement to prepare one’s body to do more formal types of meditation. It’s that simple. On the way to sitting for long periods, yoga practices stretch and soothe the body into postures, called ‘asana’ practices. These have come from many lineages of yoga and are as varied as the night sky.
For Yoga Therapy, returning to yoga meeting a person at their ability to use these postures and benefit from enjoying our physical bodies, maybe helping them recover, or maybe helping the body to pass to its next existence. Yoga Therapy calls us to mediation on uniting our bodies, as they are, with our breath.