About the meaning of Yoga
by Franziska Merz, part of the 250h Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training 2017
Today yoga is often (mis-)understood as a physical practice, which makes the body stronger and more flexible. In fact, this view on yoga is very superficial. Yoga is a lot more than that - it does not only make your body stronger and more flexible, but also your mind and soul. It helps you find your balance and …
«… the yoking of all the powers of body, mind and soul to God; it means the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that Yoga pre-supposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly.»
This unity of body, mind and soul makes you calmer and opens up the ability to gain a broader view on life. The combination of physical practice (asanas, pranayamas, mudras, bandhas etc.) and meditation allows you to be more aware of what is happening not only in your body but also in your mind. To me this is a very precious gift as the perspective on life and the world today often is very one-dimensional. We are totally overloaded with information and lack the ability to focus because we are constantly forced to multitask. Yoga helps to calm the turbulence of thoughts and the restlessness of the body to find a more conscious way of living. And through consciousness eventually also find out who we really are. It can also enable us to find an even better version of ourselves by realizing that we are a part of a whole and that as such, we affect the overall.
From the very beginning my yoga practice to me was a beautiful journey - a journey that made me stronger and gave me energy. I feel more connected and a lot more confident since I started practicing. Not only because my body changed in a very positive way, but also my consciousness. I gained the ability to fully live in the moment. Through yoga, I feel more balanced. I am able to handle stressful situations in a more calm and reflected way. Yoga is a journey that brings me closer to my feelings, my needs, my dreams and finally myself. It helped me to understand what matters to me and to distinguish the important from the unimportant.
Through the lifestyle of yoga, I rediscovered the beauty of real-life discussions while being on a yoga/surf-trip in the jungle of Costa Rica. At first, I was really frustrated not having Wi-Fi because it felt like not being connected to “my” people. But than I realized that having no Wi-Fi was actually the greatest gift of all, as I got to know very interesting people and had the best discussions for the first time in ages (not being interrupted by s.o. saying «oh wait, let me google that.»). Yoga also made me kind of like mornings, although I am absolutely not a morning person. But since I am doing my Surya and prepare a fresh smoothie or Müesli every single morning (on workdays to be precise), I have a morning-routine that I like. And that’s why I also kind of like mornings by now…
All in all, Yoga made me realize that life is about more than a good job, a great home and luxurious holidays. To me it’s more about peace, joy, love, power/health, selflessness and altruism... Because most of all, life is about people and living a conscious/meaningful life. And yes, now you may call me a hippie… ;)