© 2016 ASHTANGA YOGA MANCHESTER

 

What can be considered Yoga?

 

Yoga can only be considered yoga when the effort and focus is on the inner space, the internal. This is what a careful study of the practices of yoga from numerous approaches, which are often called separate traditions, has revealed very clearly through one uniting source by the teachings of Patanjali. This is not merely about noticing inner feelings, but a particular connection with inner processes, through which one is actually moved or
 

touched, but not by sensual input alone, or in some cases not even at all.

 

Pranayama has been recommended as a key technique to touch the inner space, if done correctly and affirmed by Patanjali. Additionally, completely honest and open self-reflection, self-awareness, and the willingness to catch our behavior and change it, is essential to what yoga is. Pranayama, with asanas and kriyas, can cultivate such a process. At the same time the practitioner must be willing to engage, to look in, and to make any necessary change, which usually culminates in letting go, undoing, less rather than more.

It is not more practice that is needed, but well understood and insightful practice. At first, all the practitioner sees are the elements of each practice. It takes time for them all to come together. And with that, it takes dedication, willingness and love. In time the technical separate qualities of one technique, be it asana or pranayama, become richly embedded in a meditative process “soupy-mix.” How delicious. But who is willing to continue the practice, and not just continue the doing, but the reflection and undoing over time?

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