Is there any Yoga in your Yoga?

To the uninitiated, yoga can easily seem like just another exercise fad. After all, we’re moving quite a lot in an asana class. It takes strength, balance, flexibility – a lot of things you could also improve in an old-fashioned aerobics class, in this millennium without the French-cut leotards and elastic headbands. But to those that have experienced yoga through steady practice, it is clear that yoga is so much more than a good workout. In Sanskrit, the word for exercise is vyayama. Vyayama is any physical activity that – if indulged in – will exhaust you. You can of course use yoga poses in a way that will exhaust you, if that is your only intent. In fact, that’s what a lot of cleverly marketed classes can do. They take place in the same studios where fitness classes are taught, they have pithy names that often involve the word “power,” and they’re marketed to those looking to exercise… and maybe lose a few pounds. The act of using asana (the postures) as vyayam

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