Why Learn Yoga Philosophy?
Where is your yoga practice going?
There is a lot of media coverage on yoga that promises yoga will provide just about every benefit under the sun. And the exciting part is that actual research backs up many of those claims. Yoga can certainly provide many physical health and wellness benefits. Ashtanga yoga in particular will definitely increase physical strength and flexibility.
But, what about those other benefits?
Our yoga practice also has the potential to provide other benefits, things like increased concentration and greater equilibrium in our nervous system. Often the context for yoga practice gets lost in all the shiny media presentations of yoga asana. Our yoga practice has the potential to go deeper and offer more than flexible hamstrings. But, in order to understand those other aspects of yoga, it’s helpful to have some context. This is where learning something about the philosophy and history of yoga comes in.
Remember, yoga is a contemplative practice, not a gymnastics routine, even if may sometimes look like that from the outside. But, in order to go in the direction of contemplation, and even meditation, we have to steer. We need to know not just what we’re doing, but also, WHY we’re doing it.
Consider the metaphor of driving a car. You may know how to operate a car. You may even be a great driver! But, if you don’t have an intention for where you want to drive to or WHY you want to go there, you’ll likely just drive around aimlessly. You may get very skilled at navigating your car around on the road, but at the end of the day, you won’t have actually arrived anywhere.
So, why learn yoga philosophy?
This is the value of learning yoga philosophy and history. The context tells us something about where we have been as part of the greater human community and it tells us something about where we could go as we work with our yoga practice each day. It also helps us recognize ourselves as part of the larger human community who are all searching for greater equilibrium and less suffering in our lives. The philosophy of yoga reminds us that we are in this search together and that we have the tools of yoga to support our evolution on this path.
An opportunity to learn yoga philosophy
For all of you who are interested in taking your yoga practice further, getting clearer about your intention, or just interested in understanding the context of what we’re doing on the yoga mat, I highly encourage you to attend the upcoming yoga philosophy weekend workshop with Greg Nardi (April 17-19). Greg is extremely knowledgeable about yoga philosophy, Sanskrit (the language of yoga) and Vedic chanting. He has studied with master teachers, but he brings all of his knowledge together and shares it in a fun, down-to-earth way. I hope to see you there!
[You can register HERE: https://app.punchpass.com/org/7957/series/9632]