fitfunandfabulous

What is yoga and what does it mean to you?

3 posts in this topic

Hi everyone,

I'm doing an auto ethnography assignment for uni and have chosen to do yoga as my chosen physical activity. It focuses on what is important and significant in yoga. I was wondering if you could answer some questions about yoga. Thanks in advanced for those who answer, it will be very useful! :D

xx

1. What are the rules of conduct?

2. What do you wear? Is there any meaning to the clothes?

3. Is there a pecking order and what does it mean?

4. Where should you stand, etc.?

5. Are there any rights of passage?

6. Is there a special 'language' of the sub-culture?

7. What does yoga mean to you?

Give me as much info about yoga and your experiences in it as possible :P

Edited by fitfunandfabulous

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Your questions seem geared towards a 'class view', I practice yoga as a philosophy as much as a physical practice. Also I actively practice on my own, using classes as an idea sauce more than anything. From this point of view some of your questions do not make much sense.

Yoga is (in my view, and in it's traditional origins) a practice of self-realisation and self growth. It is a non-competitive practice with the goal to accept where you're body is at, and be in the moment, not to gain anything. Because of which there is no 'pecking order' as there is no competition. Also there really are no rules of conduct besides obvious things like not intruding into others space, as that would take them out of the moment. Generally "don't be a disturbance to others".

Equally I don't believe there are any rites of passage, for the same non-competitive reason. If you wanted a more tong in cheek answer, persistence to improve extremely tight hamstrings seems to be something many go through, as a side effect of modern lifestyles, though it won't be universal by any means.

There is no rule on where you stand in a class, though beginners standing at the front where they can be readily seen by the teacher, to correct any mistakes, may be a good idea.

There is a bit of a sub culture around yoga, and Sanskrit is often used for naming the poses, although the latter is not universal and depends on the teacher. The Sanskrit names may be used as disambiguations as there is some collision of meaning in the English names. That does happen with Sanskrit as well, tadasana and samasthiti are used somewhat interchangeably.

Some people aim to follow the 8 limbs, and take yoga more as a lifestyle. There are the yamas and niyamas which form a set of ethical guidelines. They could be viewed in a sense as 'rules of conduct'. However given the widespread practice  of yoga as physical exercise, I wouldn't expect that the majority of class practitioners are aware of them.

 

Edited by robert
KristiSmithYoga likes this

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I'll limit my answers to practicing in a class rather than home:

1. What are the rules of conduct?

Maybe just some simple etiquette is try not to step on anyone's mats, don't slap your mat down loudly on the floor, don't have side conversations during class, and turn off cell phones.

2. What do you wear?

Is there any meaning to the clothes? Workout clothes because one can get sweaty. More form fitting clothes actually help teachers see student bodies for more alignment - e.g. shoulder blades collapsing or legs not straight.

3. Is there a pecking order and what does it mean?

Not that I know of - maybe among teachers, there can be different levels probably based on hours trained.

4. Where should you stand, etc.?

I think it's easier for beginners to stand in the middle length wise and at least in the 2nd row so there is always someone to follow from the front and sides.

5. Are there any rites of passage?

Not really, except there are YTT (yoga teacher training) programs. I do see some people aim for milestones in poses, such as getting heels to touch in downward dog or laying hands flat in forward fold, so reaching these could be considered rites of passage for them.

6. Is there a special 'language' of the sub-culture?

Sanskrit, for the reasons robert already mentioned.  Chanting "Om" as the "sound of the universe".  There are general verbal cues that can sound cheesy out of the context of yoga, but they're helpful for visualizing, such as "get more comfortable with the uncomfortable", 'listen to your body", and "observe, don't judge".

7. What does yoga mean to you?

Inner reflection

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