When I began my Yoga teacher training course, one of the first written tasks we were asked to do was to list definitions of Yoga, both our own and other people’s. This was a fascinating experience for me as someone who thought she knew Yoga, but had just realised that she really didn’t know very much at all!

What is Yoga?

  1. Yoga is a spiritual science for the integrated and holistic development of our physical, mental and moral-spiritual aspects of being (Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani
  2. Yoga is a spiritual path whose aim is the individual realisation in consciousness of the Independent, Self-Existing, Self-Originating, Indwelling Spirit of Man (Swami Gitananda)
  3. Yoga is a way of life where the principles and practices of yoga are made the foundation of the spiritual life and one lives Yoga (Swami Gitananda)
  4. Yoga in ‘The Science of the Whole Man’ (Swami Gitananda)
  5. Yoga is ‘Skill in Action’ (Sri Krishna – Bhagavad Gita)
  6. Yoga is Conscious Evolution (Swami Gitananda Giri, Step by Step Yoga course book)
  7. To be with the divine (Desikachar)
  8. Yoga is a path for developing consciousness and spiritual awareness through practices that unite body, breath, mind, intelligence, and Spirit. (T. Anne Richards)
  9. To tie the strands of the mind together (Desikachar)
  10. Yoga is ‘acting in such a way that all our attention is directed toward the activity in which we are currently engaged’ (Desikachar)
  11. The ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption (Desikachar, referring to the Yoga Sutra)
  12. The union of the individual soul with the Universal Spirit (Iyengar)
  13. A science that liberates the mind from the bondage of the body and leads it toward the soul. (Iyengar)
  14. An ancient art and philosophy that involves both mind and body and is aimed at self-development and self-realisation. (http://hotelthailand.com/Thailand-activities/spa/spa-glossary.htm)
  15. A physical practice of stretching the body in different ways, focusing one’s attention, and becoming one with the universe. It uses body, breath and senses to reconnect the practitioner with the universe and move emotions and thoughts into stillness (http://thenewmedicine.org/resources/definitions )
  16. Freedom of the self from its temporary state through methods such as exercise and relaxation (taken from a URL that no longer exists!)
  17. A system of physical, mental, and spiritual development that originated in ancient India, but in the modern international context, the term includes many variations on the traditional practices (e.g., restorative yoga), as well as practices, both ancient and recent, that developed in other countries (e.g., Tibetan yoga) (Jeffrey D. White)

The rest of the definitions are some that I came up with based on my early Yoga study

  1. Yoga is a prescription to a healthier life (me)
  2. A way to bring individuals from duality to oneness
  3. One of the Shat Darshanas, or Six Revealed Views of Life
  4. A practice that enables a greater connection with the needs of the mind and body, and enables a practitioner to listen and attend better to those needs
  5. Yoga is spiritual unity
  6. Yoga is a way to find peace and stillness in an otherwise noisy and chaotic world
  7. Yoga is the path to enlightenment
  8. Yoga is firstly for individual growth, but through individual growth, society and community develop
  9. Yoga is a universal culture, not bound to any creed, religion or any other ‘human imposed’ barriers, it is open to all

I am running a series of webinars in the week beginning January 8th which will look at how Yoga can improve life in a whole host of ways, including the development of resilience to stress, self awareness, positive thinking and deep relaxation.

The series is focusing on how Yoga can help you to ‘Recovering You’, as a tool for self discovery, personal growth, freedom from stress and recovery from the many addictions that could affect your life.

The webinars are

  • Monday Jan 8 – Stop and notice – developing awareness of your body, your thoughts and emotions
  • Tuesday Jan 9 – Becoming a better you – working with the Yamas and Niyamas to improve your life
  • Wednesday Jan 10 – Grateful for gratitude – how living with gratiutude can give you more to be grateful for
  • Thursday Jan 11 – Relax and recover – some powerful and simple ways to tackle stressful moments
  • Friday Jan 12 – Getting to know you – the importance of self study and really getting to understand yourself

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The webinars will all take place at 8.30pm GMT, and replays will be available so if you are unable to attend live, you can catch up. There will also be a pop up Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your experiences and learning, and where I will be sharing more information and articles.

The Recovering You week will be perfect for you if you

  • Are in recovery from addiction and are looking for ways to beat the stress of recovery, and deepen your experience of recovery
  • Are experiencing stress that you don’t know what to do with, for example, at work, or in your personal life
  • Are interested in learning more about Yoga philosophy and how it can be applied to your life
  • Want to grow as a person and are confused by all the personal growth paths out there

You can secure your place on the webinar by signing up below, or find out more here. Please look out for emails from me and make sure that they go into your inbox, and be sure to confirm or you won’t be able to hear any more from me, and you will miss out on the webinars

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Esther Nagle
Teacher, writer, speaker at Balance and Breathe
Esther is a former alcoholic, smoker and all round stressed out mess. She found the path to health, happiness, freedom and joy through Yoga. She is a passionate advocate for the power of Yoga, and time in Nature, in bringing balance to life, and giving you control over your health, happiness and wellbeing.

Esther is a powerful public speaker, writer and author. Her first book, Bent Back into Shape, Beating Addiction Through Yoga, has gained many 5 star reviews and has helped many people along their recovery journey.