What is a Yoga Practice?

Yoga teachers will often refer to "your practice," implying that there is no final product. You NEVER graduate from yoga which means that your practice is always evolving and changing, as are you. Although the poses themselves do not change, your relationship to them will.

Yoga teachers will often refer to "your practice," implying that there is no final product. You NEVER graduate from yoga which means that your practice is always evolving and changing, as are you.

Although the poses themselves do not change, your relationship to them will. Anyone can start a yoga practice whether or not you are strong or flexible. These things will develop over time. Focusing on yoga as a ‘practice’ also encourages the noncompetitive spirit of yoga. One of the most difficult, but ultimately most liberating things about yoga is letting go of the ego and accepting that no one is better than anyone else. Everyone is just doing their best on any given day.

Tools for Practice

Asana involves moving the body into a position, staying in it, and moving out of it. The movements into and out of the asana are done in combination with a speci?c component of the breathing cycle: inhalation, exhalation, or suspending the breath after exhalation. Throughout, the breathing must be regulated with attention. Movement of the body and the breathing are both very important. Correct asana is crucial in dealing with problems of body structure for the obvious reason: it involves movement and muscle work.

Pranayama is to consciously regulate or observe the breath, with a focused mind, while keeping the body still. Compared to asana, pranayama is of greater importance when addressing problems in body function (other than musculoskeletal problems).

Meditation is to make the effort to keep the mind focused, or to keep one thought fixed in the mind. For meditation to deepen, it should be practiced with the body kept still. The main role of the body in meditation is to not distract the mind.