Yoga is an ancient practice with strong roots in India, but also with connections to a number of religions and other cultures. When we in the West think of ‘yoga’, most of us picture somebody sitting in the lotus position and ‘om’-ing quietly.
Whilst a yoga practice does indeed have physical benefits – it can improve mobility, develop strength, and even be used therapeutically to aid with postural, musculoskeletal or other ailments – there is a lot more to practicing yoga than placing the body into particular shapes.
A well-rounded yoga practice might include breath work (pranayama), meditation, chanting (mantras), and gestures or mudras.
What’s more, a yoga practice doesn’t just end when we step off the mat. How we treat ourselves, and interact with others, is an extension of our yoga practice and the true revelation of its efficacy.