Expanding the Definition of Yoga

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Like most North Americans, I first met
yoga as a physical practice, a sport. Unlike most sports in my life,
yoga combines strength and flexibility, which is like some kind of
magic trick after years of activities (trail running,
cycling, gym-ratting) that were joyous and invigorating, but which shortened every single muscle in my body with every outing. So yay for yoga as sport.

Over the holidays, I read Deepak
Chopra’s The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, in which he kindly fills out my own definition of yoga to include breathing, meditation, and a few other things which are still over my head.

Thank you, Deepak! Why? Because in the midst of my honeymoon with both breathing and meditation, a honeymoon involving a good hour and a half each morning, I find myself so blissful (Peace! Love! All is One!) that it’s all I can do to haul myself into Downward Dog afterwards, let alone a full series.

After a year of loving my physical practice, I find myself in the middle of a kind of existential yoga crisis, in which my physical practice is the least attractive part of my early morning. I can hardly believe it even as I write it.

What a pleasure, then, to find out that I am still doing yoga–deliciously–by breathing and meditating! To learn this is so thrilling that I happily finished my meditating with a dozen Sun Salutations this morning.

Perhaps something inside decided I needed some rounding out, and that my practice might benefit from a little bliss.

Whatever it is, I’m grateful, and relieved.

Has this happened to you before? Is yoga a straight physical practice for you or do you explore its other branches? Did exploring the others mess you up, ever?

Thanks to yoga for being filled with surprises, and thanks to you for the conversation,


Kristin Shepherd is a chiropractor, actor, and speaker (About All
Things Wonderful) in North Bay, Ontario.  Join her on the
and on
and on

This entry was posted in asana, deepekchopra, downwarddog, mediation, pranayama, sunsalutations, Yoga and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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