What Is Yoga?

Handstand in the Shadow of Courthouse
This is NOT yoga, this is an asana (pose). It is also months of hard work, mindful breathing and focus. More importantly, this is a beautiful evening spent running around the quirky allies of my beloved Bloomington with my light and love, my daughter – NOW THAT IS YOGA. Photo Credit: Stella Eibling


I love Russell’s way of relating the meaning of yoga.  When teaching, I’ve often compared the state of Samadhi to the moments of pure joy or pure grief in our lives.  The moments when things literally seem to stand still, our usual attachments drop away and our busy minds stop chattering.  Yoga is simply the practice of breathing more space in between the craziness of our thoughts in an effort to expand these moments of stillness.

Often, we feel this is something out of our control.  We allow ourselves to be swept up into the flow of life.  We say there isn’t enough time for stillness.  We question whether true peace of mind is possible.  It is.  It is a practice.  We have all had glimpses of Samadhi or pure consciousness, the times when it is abundantly clear that most of what we busy our minds with is not necessary and often the cause of our suffering.  Tap into this knowledge and practice expanding the space between the thoughts in your head. This can be done with the breath, a mindfully done task, meditation, listening to others, or meaningful work.  The possibilities are endless.  The mat is unnecessary.  Intention a must.

Russell Simmons: What Is Yoga?

Russell Simmons: The Connection Between Yoga and Success

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