The definition of yoga is essentially ‘union’. At the foundation it is to be in union with yourself, and then others through kindness and compassion.
I know that for many yoga is a form of gymnastic-like contortions with their very flexible body. It is also another place to compete and to improve. I get it.
My practice used to consist of every inversion I could achieve and I strived for “perfection” in my pose. I sought out yoga to get more flexible physically and to perfect something that at that time I felt needed perfecting. What I did not realize was that I could achieve all of that physical/external stuff in the gym or in a fitness class.
Over time though I realized that while I can stretch, build strength, achieve amazing results and impress myself I was no where near union with my Self. I was destroying my body. I was seeking the wow factor impressing others ego based external affirmations. But mostly I was lost.
And then I found the true essence of yoga.
And this had nothing to do with how deep my back could bend.
This gentleman has been practicing yoga with me for two years. He could care less about a handstand because his yoga is union. It is allowing me to move his mostly paralyzed body. To look into his beautiful green eyes and wonder what he would like to say if his mouth would just speak the words.
Despite his limitation from a traumatic brain injury, this man shows up. He is present.
After our session, he insists on “walking” me to the door to lift his hand for a handshake.
That is yoga at its core.