"Yoga is not just asana" - neither is this blog

If you’re reading this then you may already know what I’m talking about.

I think.

If you’re reading this you may already know that asana for a start is the Sanskrit term for the physical postures that we tend to look at and call yoga.

If you’ve come to this page, you may already know that yoga is a lot more than just the physical postures. You may perhaps know that in addition to physical poses, practicing meditation, breath control (pranayama), moral codes of behaviour to yourself and to others, and reaching the ultimate aim of stilling the mental chatter is the aim of YOGA…. so hence “yoga is not just asana”.

Why am I stating things that you may already know, especially if you are visiting a yoga website?

Well, because this blog is not just about asana either. It may not even always be purely about aspects of yoga. I may talk food, I may talk about yoga props and poses. About meditation. About the Yamas and Niyamas. And it may veer into Svadhyaya at times - one of the 5 Niyamas in yoga, essentially self-study, introspection.

Because unravelling the self is something I have been working towards for a long time, and probably also will. Because unravelling the self is something that I share for reasons that are twofold - it is cathartic and necessary, and I could no more stop it than I could stop thinking at all. It is also shared because I have discovered that sometimes it resonates, sometimes it’s a shared experience, and sometimes discovering a shared experience, a shared thought or feeling is something that helps someone else with their journey of unravelling, and I’ve had many messages about this on my old blog (now defunct, but I have never stopped writing), and via my Instagram, Facebook pages and email.

Is that self-indulgent? I wonder this sometimes. But then, it seems to me that the more we keep things packaged up, swept under a carpet, un-dealt with, the more difficult it can be to live with ourselves, and therefore to interact with others. If things are constantly swept under a carpet, they inevitably build up, and become either something we have to work hard to avoid confronting, or end up tripping over. Unpacking it all, pulling out the muck from under the carpet can be a messy business, but bit by bit, I hope, we turn things over, understand where it all goes in the puzzle of us, put it back or throw away the things we no longer need.

How does this all relate back to yoga? To a blog on a yoga website? If the ultimate aim of practicing yoga is to still the mental chatter, then maybe it’s strange to be talking about all the things that surround the practice. But writing has always been important to me. My dear friend Vicki, a prolific writer and creative sent me a card to encourage me to blog again.

“write, no matter what - the water does not flow until the tap is turned on”

Ideas and words just need to flow, and so I’m turning on the tap. And I am not just a yoga practitioner. I am more. When I practice asana, I also practice pranayama, I also include elements of meditation. My mind floats and for the most part, it’s not just about the shapes that are being made. Through all the different aspects of my yoga - not just the asana - I am finding what there is.