Question: I’ve heard that yoga & exercise are different. How? (Inquirying Mind)
Dear Inquirying Mind, This question can be complicated or simple depending on what you consider yoga to be. This thought first guides me to clarify what the word yoga means to me. (This might also be a consideration for you as well, to define the word for yourself.) My definition of Yoga has continually evolved over my decades of study, practice and living. I have discovered a wide variety of definitions and have them compiled into a notebook, that is how vast and varied the definitions within and outside myself have been.
I consider Yoga to be a label for something far more than postures and breathing, which is what a lot of the modern world associates with this term. A recent quote that really resonated with me is by Eric Shiffman, “yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.” To me this aligns with the Sanskrit root of the word, yuj, which denotes a sense of yoking or uniting with something. For me when I come to a place of quiet that easily connects with inner stillness and a sense of truth that feels individual and universal then I feel as if I am obtaining Yoga.
Now back to your question Krishna Macharya says, “The very essence of yoga is that it must be adapted to the individual, not the other way around.” So if you label what you do as yoga and it feels akin to what you call exercise then how would you answer your question?
As a teacher of Yoga and other life concepts I have learned I do not know your answer, only you do. I hope what it is written here helps you create clarity on what Yoga is to you… and if that is the same or different from what you consider exercise. ૐ LauraLynn