The tradition of yoga is a whole philosophical view and more
about mental and spiritual practice than physical strenght or
flexibility. On the yoga mat you get to know yourself better, meet
yourself more honestly.
As we are in life, we are on our yoga mat. Those qualities that
are strong with us will be our biggest assets or/and challenges
when we practice yoga. Some are impatient, become frustrated with
movements they can't handle and push themselves too hard. Others
are afraid, others are tired and have difficulty coping with the
effort that it takes to practice.
After a while, all such patterns becomes obvious, and anyone who
wants to can learn a lot from it. One sees oneself - and works with
oneself both physically and mentally. Body and soul simply belong
together. The physically demanding form means that the body is
challenged - while you have to stay focused on what you do. In
this way, it is a mental exercise, which requires the presence
right here and now. It's also experiences you can take with you in
The word Ashtanga means eight branches in Sanskrit. Eight parts
that constitutes a yogic practice. One of the foundational
texts of yoga is Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, that describes what yoga
is - both practically and philosophically. Simply put, one can say
that the goal of yoga is to quieten the activities of the mind, and
reach a conscious, peaceful state in ourselves. In Sanskrit, this
is known as Samadhi.
The Yoga Sutras speak of an eightfolded path to reach Samadhi,
where the physical positions, or asanas, are only one branch. More
over Patanjali speaks of Yamas and Niyamas, our attitudes towards
others and ourselves, about breathing and deeper forms of
concentration and meditation. Each branch consists of different
principles and tools for us to study. There are various forms of
yoga that emphazises different branches.
Physically you can notice fairly quickly that yoga makes the
body strong, flexible and more balanced. One can also feel a bit
taller since the posture often improves from the practice.
There are movements for all parts of the body and all organs.
The idea is to cleanse and release toxins that you sweat out. The
exercise also increases blood circulation and oxygen levels in the
blood. The immune system and general health also seems to be