What does yoga mean to me?  How do you define yoga?  What brings your students to yoga?

Video + Transcript with Heather Agnew, ERYT-500, Lead Trainer. Watch the discussion video, or read a few discussion notes below.

What Does Yoga Mean to Me?  

It’s one of those questions that can get your brain spinning, especially if you’re a yoga teacher. Ever been asked that and thought, “Hmm, what’s my answer?”

Modern yoga is centered around asana, but it’s not just about asana. For some it’s about stretching, and for others it’s about balance. For some it’s about breathwork and relaxation, and for some yoga is mantra and meditation. For some it’s a spiritual practice, and for some it’s about a lifestyle, and for some it’s a class they love at the gym. It’s a philosophy, but it’s not just philosophy. Yoga is dynamic and it’s deeply relaxing. Yoga is about self-exploration, and it’s also about community….My brain is spinning trying to define all of yoga!

In truth, yoga is too big to fit into a few sentences, it is a vast practice, and it can mean so many different things to each unique practitioner. And yet, being able to succinctly explain what yoga is to others is part of the job of a yoga teacher.

So, how to begin to define what yoga means to you?

We all have those hectic weeks where it’s a struggle to find the time to roll out our mats. So, what’s the secret sauce that gets you back on the mat when life’s a whirlwind? Why choose yoga when there are so many things vying for your attention? How does yoga have your back through thick and thin?
If you have clarity in what yoga means to you, or how you’ll define yoga to others, we’d love to hear from you. And if you, like me, sometimes find it a challenging question to answer, let’s talk about that too!

This discussion will hopefully help us all understand all the many reasons why folks practice yoga, the unique connections they have with it, and maybe even brainstorm some insights to sprinkle into your teaching, writing, and marketing!

When I think about what yoga means to me, it’s not static, it’s quite fluid and has changed and evolved over time, as I have changed and evolved.

There have been times when I was confused about what yoga meant to me. What started as a practice for stress management and self-knowledge over time became a place for competition and accomplishment and achieving levels. I spent some time delving into more spiritual or devotional practices, but that’s not really what yoga was for me. At this stage of my practice, I think I have returned to my original intention after a lot of years of exploring. But it’s a question I plan to keep on asking.

You might ask yourself that question too, and if you are a teacher, ask your students:

  • What does yoga mean to you?
  • Does yoga support your health, fitness, or wellbeing?
  • Does yoga support your relationships?
  • Does yoga guide your choices and decisions?
  • Does yoga bring something into your life that other activities don’t?

I hope that this discussion and these prompts gives you some space to gain some clarity on what yoga means to you, and what it means to your students.

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