Deepak Chopra and David Simon say, “ Yoga is a state of being in which the elements and forces that comprise your biological organism are in harmonious interaction with the elements of the cosmos”.
I just watched the 2008 Yoga documentary “Enlighten Up”! by Kate Churchill. Yes, I know 2008 was a long time ago, but I had completely forgotten about the film sitting in my Netflix instant que for at least the last 2 years.
I liked the film, and connected to the main character Nick- a non-spiritual, non-yogi, cynical New Yorker exactly my same age. He comes to find out that Yoga Asana or the physical practice of Yoga is so much more than that. In fact, the physical practice of Yoga that we know and love in America is only 1 of the 8 branches of the complete practice. Also, the question of how old the practice really is, is discussed. .
While the philosophy of Yoga dates back roughly 2,500 or so, the physical aspect as we know it (a series of movements designed to improve your health, flexibility, and the way you look in tight jeans) is only about 100 years old. I was a little surprised to learn this even as a certified teacher.
I recommend seeing the film if you want to dive just a little deeper into the origins of Yoga and what it means to you. There are also rare interviews with some of the founders of the more modern styles that are popular here today.
And, if you are still mystified or intimidated by the practice- afraid of doing it wrong, afraid of falling out of Tree Pose, looking silly or chanting out of tune (these are things that I hear often).. Well, lighten up a little. There is no right way or wrong way. There is no definitive authority or style on the subject or history of Yoga. Find a teacher that resonates with you and just go with what feel good. I promise that it will be worth the time and effort.
What does Yoga mean to you?