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What Is Yoga?

What’s the difference between a yoga class and an exercise/stretch class?

Many people go to a yoga class for the physical challenge of poses and to release muscle tension and a yoga class, or any exercise class, will invariably give them that. Similarly, any exercise has been proven to be beneficial to our mental state; it can reduce stress and anxiety in the short term. However, if you've been to a few yoga classes you might have started to notice that you get more than the physical benefits, more than the short-term mental health benefits of a bit of exercise. What is that?


In my yoga practice and the classes I teach I aim to foster a connection between the three bodies; the physical body (aka gross body – ‘gross’ as in ‘obvious’, not a commentary 😉), the subtle body (aka energy body) and the causal body (the part of us that is connected to the universal energy). I use asana (poses), mudras (seals), chanting (mantra), breath (pranayama) and mindfulness or meditation (dharana and dhyana) to bring the focus within so that we can feel and get to know those connections. This skill is then able to be used off the yoga mat and used in our areas of our lives.