The Bhagavad Gita says, ‘Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.’

The word journey is tricky. In any journey, it implies a destination with stops along the way. Maybe journey is the word because so many yogis were nomadic. Journey is mentioned countless times in writings, I’ve used the word a lot myself. But in reflection, is it the best word for the modern practitioner?

The yogi of the past, was seeking enlightenment. Freedom from reincarnation. The yogi of the past was working on their spiritual health with no real guarantees on what would happen.

The modern yogi has been promised results through mass marketing and has a different goal taking focus on their current body and mind. I have never had a student come to me asking for enlightenment in my 10 years of teaching.

If I were to say to the modern aspiring yogi, ‘this practice will only make you look and feel good in the afterlife,’ I’m pretty sure they would walk away from me with a WTH look on their face.

So, lets look at that word journey again. Can there be both? Can the modern student attain their physical goals and work toward enlightenment in their yoga journey? I think so.

Here is what I would offer that person to consider:

  1. Place a higher value on pranayama than asana
  2. Change the words you’re focusing on in class
  3. Let the words instructing movement go into the background of what you hear
  4. Focus on the words that ask you to go inside of yourself

But Carmen, isn’t the asana important? Yes, and it will still happen. I’m just asking you to change where you hear the emphasis. Peel back the layer of asana and what do you have? You want to deepen your practice? Try that for one class and let me know how it goes.

Dig deeper,