What Makes Yoga Different from Stretching?

Yoga postures (asana) are more than stretching exercises – at the most basic level, they do not only stretch your muscles, but open locked up joints and improve core strength.  On a deeper level, Yoga requires your undivided focus as the aim is to coordinate movement with breath.  Through the combination of postures that allow the body to become more subtle and reside in a state of health, the mind can broaden its outlook and as we continue to practice we find ourselves modifying rigid attitudes or behaviours.  Thus, in yoga the attention is drawn inward and the postures become an extension of our mind – each posture can teach you something about yourself and you can become aware of many subtleties in your body and mind that you weren’t aware of.  This is why we call yoga a ‘practice’, not an exercise regime or task to be completed, as we are constantly learning and modifying our focus.  While the result of continued practice may be a more flexible, healthy and strong body, these become secondary to the advances that we achieve in our own mind.

Tagged , , .