American Yoga, a living wordless science of movement/stillness and freedom. The word Yoga has proclaimed its own right in the American lifestyle as the ever evolving, ever defining living science of Union. In fact I can honesty say that most Americans have placed Yoga on the table of ‘food for thought’ without ever clearly defining the word. Many yogic concepts and words are showing up in the western american household and becoming mainstream. The ancient sanskrit language is being revived, everyday in content and context in our attitudes, our communities, our households, our families and individually everywhere.
As a yoga teacher I have realized the word "Yoga" is seldom known by definition with many students. Instead they know yoga by how it makes them feel. Ive been teaching for over 20 years and notice those who show up to class have no idea what the word Yoga means. That it comes from the root word, "to yoke" as in yoking two oxen so that the oxen are in union. Uniting the head and the body so to speak or the body and the head for that matter. The beautiful part about it is that since yoga is a living science it is not necessary to name it. If you ask anyone how they felt after yoga they will inevitably describe some aspect of union; uniting with themselves. They will define the effects of yoga rather than a specific word. That is why the living science is subjective. It is a personal and direct experience to the practitioner. In addition there are many facets to this practice that change and evolve as we change and evolve. The experience and experiencer become realized as a part of creation unfolding everywhere. The biproduct is the ultimate self realization that; "our choices are our responsibility". We are left feeling inspired to develop the inner fortitued to create a happy, healthy, flexible and well adjusted life.
It is a science transforming people at an unconscious level and when taught properly, at a non suggestive level. Individuas can have a centered and direct experience of themself based in activity, silence and stillness. Yoga helps train the mind toward a desire body set into motion goals to be healthy, to be realized, to be specialized, to be free. Check it out for yourself. The human potential movement has found itself fully realized in the art, science and craft of yoga. I have watched people for years find their hobby, passion and purpose on their mat. Whether it be cooking, drawing, writing, healing, inventing, musical talents spring forth and the desire to create beauty becomes paramount. Recycling becomes important to the yogi as well drinking pure water and eating cleaner food. Adjusting a lifestyle toward wellness is the enviornment needed for this new training regime to take root and we can really live a pristine life of extraordinary results.
While there are many personal psycho spiritual, wellness and healing modalities in mainstream america these days. It is no doubt that Yoga is by far the most popular, most reaching and most engaging of them all. Yoga concepts like karma, dharma, chakras and kundalini had no platform for understanding until Yoga came to town. These concepts become more and more realized in our western american culture each day. Funny thing is that at the end of the day, while the the practice of yoga can take credit for the massive awakening happening to many americans they still have no idea what its definition is. Just to have a mat to rest any weary bones, to recature the breath or to clear a path for new possibilities can be our sanctuary. Where we get our mind and body in sync to that of our words, actions and deeds in the world. When we activily do this we are naturally coming from a place of Union.
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.