The Definition of Yoga

The Definition of Yoga

by Mary Stepanek

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The quick, often used definition of Yoga (and my favorite) is “to yoke or combine body, mind and spirit.”

If you look up the word ‘yoga” in the dictionary you will find:

Yo·ga /ˈyōɡə/ noun
a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation:
“she enjoys doing yoga to start the day”Yo·ga /ˈyōɡə/

I understand and have probably shared both of these definitions. But for me the practice of yoga is also about community! Since my first experience at Namaste Yoga Studio I have felt the “yoke or combination of student, teacher, and community”. After 16 years as a student, and 15 years of teaching, that’s what I love most about Namaste Yoga Studio! 

Some examples of community connections I see and feel regularly at Namaste – in no particular order…

  • A new student shows up and a regular student offers to help them settle onto their mat. 
  • Mothers with sons, fathers with daughters, multi-generational families practicing together.
  • Friends who come to class for their weekly meet up, sometimes following class with coffee…or a beer. 
  • Tears, sadness, heartache are all okay at Namaste.
  • Prenatal yogi’s practicing and anticipating. Postnatal yogi’s trying to catch a deep breath.
  • Brides buying unlimited passes in anticipation of an upcoming wedding. Grooms will come too! 
  • Students who come to class after the loss of a loved one or a scary diagnosis. 
  • Couples that come for couple time side by side. And couples that come and practice across the room from one another.
  • A student requesting a class of nothing but savasana, and everyone else chiming in with the same request. 
  • Teens who turn off social media to really experience down time or to take care of themselves for a big event.
  • Parents learning to navigate life as empty nesters. Or parents coming with their grown kids who came home for a visit.
  • Friendships created and nurtured into close friendships because of  practicing together at the studio.
  • Long time students who return after time off.
  • Exciting news that “somehow” everyone in the room hears about and celebrates!
  • Music playlists created by or for classmates.
  • A quiet space with everyone just focused on breathing.
  • People who come to Namaste because they “always feel better after class.”