It’s Not Just Physical

Why is yoga different from other forms of exercise?
It’s not just physical. The foundation of the practice is such that it is deeply rooted in ancient knowledge and philosophy. It is not just movement, it is a way of thinking, feeling and being.

Yes, the physical benefits of Yoga are significant and they will likely draw you into the practice, but it is something else that will keep you coming back to your mat. Expect your new found strength, flexibility, tone, balance, spatial awareness, co-ordination and breath control, to be superseded by the more therapeutic benefits of Yoga’s teachings.

Naturally as humans we identify most strongly with our primary vehicle of experience- our physical body. We live within the construct of our skin, often feeling defined by its form and function. We also exist in an era where the outward appearance of self is heavily weighted by society.

Subconsciously we have become preoccupied with how our bodies are being projected or perceived, rather than actually living in them.

Modern life has become so externally focussed that we are fixated on what our body can do instead of what our body can feel. The result is an attachment to the ‘apparent self’ and a detachment from the ‘true self.’

Yoga interrupts our attachment and over identification with our physicality. This is where the practice differentiates itself from any other style of movement, it intends for us to extend our awareness past our outermost layer. While Boot-camp, Body Pump and Pilates are all wonderful forms of exercise, the purpose of Yoga is to offer an intention beyond just the frame. It is oriented towards and inward experience, a whole body catharsis, where layers of mental, emotional and physical tension are explored and questioned.

Instead of our ‘work-out’ being used as an escape from reality, it becomes a ‘work-in’ and allows us to more fully engage with our present reality. It provides us with time and space for much needed introspection, reflection and connection. The result is a refined attunement to our thoughts, emotions and sensations. It encourages us to be less someone else and more ourselves.

Yoga is like any good relationship, it might start out with the lust of physical attraction but over time the real beauty begins to reveal itself. The many layers of emotional complexity appear, the inner-self (that at first was hidden) begins to make itself known. Over time the relationship demands that you also remove your own shields and share your vulnerabilities. It asks you to be transparent, to be seen fully as you are, in order to see another for who they really are. The result is a bond.

As with any intimate relationship, the love felt for one another is founded on something far more solid than the superficial, it is built on an experience of unity. The practice is the same. In fact I truly believe that Yoga develops our skill set to have more rich and meaningful human experiences.

Yoga: (adjective) to yolk, to unify, to join.

As humans we are spiritual creatures, whether you identify with such or not. Spirituality is merely becoming conscious of your own unending, immaterial nature and how that unending part of yourself forms part of the whole puzzle. In many ways Yoga is just a method of remembering. It reminds you of what you have forgotten – your humanness. You have an all important role to fulfil. That role is to have a completely authentic, honest and meaningful experience of being yourself. That experience has nothing to do with your body and everything to do with your perspective.

There are moments within a Yoga practice when time stands still, and in that stillness union is felt. Asana (posture), pranayama (extension of the breath) and sankalpa (intention) are woven together seamlessly in such a way where you become completely at one. I call this the catharsis.
The catharsis is when you’re life hasn’t changed but your perspective of your life has changed.

The sea of thoughts you once found yourself swimming against become calm waters, clear enough to see through. The emotions you didn’t know were buried within your body begin to surface, begging to be acknowledged. Not only do you recognise their existence, you recognise why they exist and how they are affecting your life. In turn your experiences take on more meaning.

Whilst having your own individual experience, you also wake up to that fact that everyone else is living with the same human condition. As you shift your perspective of yourself, you begin to connect more deeply with others and the result a real understanding of our togetherness. We have the same questions. We have the same lack of answers. We have same insecurities. Regardless of appearance, job or income, we are the same and we are all in this together.

So however you show up to practice, trust that Yoga has entered your life for the very reason something has else has left. Trust that the process of practising is not easy, in fact it may be the most confronting thing you ever do in your life. Trust that while the physical changes you experience might be tangible, the true value will never be seen, only felt.

Because it’s not just physical, it is multi-dimensional. But as a human being so are you.

Are you interested in beginning a Yoga Practice but not sure where to start?
Check out our NEW STUDENT page for more details of what we offer and when our next Newbies Series begins.