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Modern Day Yoga Brings It Home

Modern Day Yoga Brings It Home

Do you remember your first yoga class? It usually makes an impression.

We are the fortunate recipients of an ancient practice that has traversed time and countries to land at our doorsteps, even at our fingertips.

Whenever and however we practice yoga, we become part of a venerable, healing, unifying, honored tradition.

And itís never been more popular than now.

Thereís something irresistibly magnetic about yoga beyond its stretching and strengthening powers. I think itís the subtle power of a regular practice to transform, not only our bodies, but also our deep-seated attitudes and beliefs. On our mats we are able to tap into the inherent peace of mind we often lose track of through our busy days.

Peace of mind. Thatís not something we often find at our local gym.

True to its flexible nature, yoga continues to keep up with our changing times.

While yoga was originally passed on from guru to student, in a sacred oral tradition, we find ourselves in societies and lives nowadays that move at a much faster pace than 5th Century India.

Another modern shift is the number of women practicing yoga. Yoga originally was only practiced by men, but this is no longer the case.

Today, of the estimated 15 million Americans that practice yoga, 72 percent are female.

The options for yoga in our modern day seem to be expanding exponentially. Thereís plenty of variety to satisfy any taste. Hot yoga, restorative yoga, power yoga, alignment-based yoga, Kundalini yoga, and meditation classes are just a few likely available at your local studio.

Taking it a step further is the advent of online yoga.

So youíve only got a 30-minute slot to spare or canít make it out the door in time for your favorite class? Enter the Internet. With its unmatched power of connection, you can be in savasana before you know it.

One leader in the area of online yoga is Gaiam TV. The site offers a large library of online yoga classes taught by experienced teachers such as Kathryn Budig, Amy Ippoliti, and Shiva Rea. Theyíre also dedicated to providing conscious media, something many find desperately lacking in mainstream media.

With all of this change and progress, are we losing touch with the original intent of yoga? Is an online yoga class really the same as a ďrealĒ yoga class? Iíd say it is, and hereís why:

Yoga is an inside job. You can do it anywhere, even if you canít physically move your body. You can move your mind. And isnít that the bottom line?

That being said, good teachers are invaluable because they teach us proper form, inspire us, and often show us what weíre truly capable of. A real conversation or hands-on adjustment by an experienced, live teacher is invaluable.

How or where you practice yoga is an individual call, based on your personal circumstances. And wherever you are now will likely be different in five years.

Having yoga available in so many forms, in a variety of formats and locations, is a luxury of living in the 21st Century. It allows us to truly listen to our bodies and choose a practice that provides what we need at the time.

Many yoga studios offer classes from a variety of teachers. Thereís something to be learned from every one of them.

The beauty of online yoga classes is that it opens the door to practicing with renowned teachers that we might never otherwise be able to experience.

The gift of yoga is really the gift of ourselves. By meeting ourselves on our mats, we meet the world and our families from a more complete place, able to give our heart and soul to everyone we meet and everything we do. We find ourselves interacting with ourselves and others from a place of openness, love, and stability.

Whatís your preferred way to practice? A yoga studio, a home practice, or an online class? Share your comments below!

Monique Minahan is a writer, yogi, and lover of life. She’s inspired by nature’s simplicity and the healing power of love. She finds true liberation in living life fully from the inside out. Her intention is to offer her heart to the world through words that motivate, inspire, and encourage. You can visit her at her blog, mindfulmo.com

Photo credit: telmo32 & lululemon athletica, Sarah G.

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By Monique Minahan

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23 comments

+ add your own
8:24PM PST on Jan 13, 2013

Thank you!

4:56PM PST on Dec 27, 2012

Yoga is very much an important part of my life. I have a consistant daily home practice, incorporating yoga, qi gong and meditation and like to attend a class at least one a week.

2:31PM PST on Dec 26, 2012

ty!

5:00AM PST on Dec 26, 2012

Thanks Chelsea for sharing the interesting article.

9:56PM PST on Dec 25, 2012

thanks

7:35AM PST on Dec 25, 2012

thanks

5:42AM PST on Dec 25, 2012

Online yoga sounds interesting..thanks

1:11AM PST on Dec 25, 2012

i love doing yoga at home based on a books sequence or let my body do the poses it prefers and for as long as it feels it needs it, i also attend classes but not that often as I would love too; i tried few full session on youtube and decided to stick to small clips where new poses and quick sequences are shown. i find that the teachers on online sessions tend to talk way too much; experience this, feel that... at some point I feel mentally tired and tense as I feel that they do not let enough space and time to actually do the above and feel your body at the same time which is the essence of the whole practice, connect to your body and relax your mind especially from words, sentences, talking (mental and actual talking)... or maybe in my country yoga is practiced a little bit different that in the states, I really do not know

6:18PM PST on Dec 24, 2012

Michael M. is quite right. The article is shallow. The picture of the seated Buddhas is also misleading. Yoga predates Buddha. Until recently western scholars and Indologists believed that Yoga developed only as late as 500 B.C. There is a view confirmed by archaeological surveys of the Indus Valley, scholars of linguistics and scientists working with satellite technology, which takes Yoga back to over 5000 years old. Though the systematization could have been later. In any event yoga predates the beginning of the Christian era by a few centuries as evidenced by the descriptions in the Mahabharata and Patanjali Yoga Sutras. While Buddhism did contribute to certain aspects of yoga (essentially philosophical) Jainism is structured- it is believed- on a rigorous yoga practice of a high order. It is of interest to note that for over 20 odd centuries Siva has been seen as the Supreme Yogi(ascetic) and Patanjali as an avatar of Adisesha.

9:38AM PST on Dec 24, 2012

When in my 20's, I found a yoga book at a thrift store and used it to learn and practice yoga.
Recently retired, I just finished up a Tai Chi class taught by a wonderful 80 yr old woman who has beat cancer twice and has 2 hip replacements. I am looking forward to more of her classes this spring. In the meantime, I have several DVD's on Tai Chi and Yoga on hold at my library. The ones I really like, I will purchase.

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