Strip away for a moment thoughts of downward facing dogs and yoga pants and read with your heart so that the true roots of yoga can come alive for you and you might practice your yoga from now on from a place of more sacred reverence.
The practice of yoga is thought to have started at the very dawn of civilization before modern day beliefs and religions were formed. In yogic folklore it is said along the bank of the Himalaya the first yogi (Adiyogi) Shiva poured his knowledge into 7 sages (Saptarishis) and these 7 sages carried the vast wisdom across Asia, The Middle East,South America and Northern Africa. It was in India that the Science of Yoga took its fullest expression. Agastya, the sage who brought the wisdom to India from Shiva cultivated a culture around a core yogic way of life.
This yogic way of life, isn't what you think when you think yoga. The ancient yogis weren't practicing yoga poses. The true essence of yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living.
The word yoga translates from Sanskrit from the word "yul" meaning to yoke. The original ancient text of yog tell us that the practice of yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, human & nature. A cosmic divine oneness.
Thousands of years before there were yoga poses the heart of yoga was derived of 3 core practices
Bhakti - The practice of devotion
Karma - Acts of Service
Jana - Studying Scripture
Through dedication to these 3 core practices, you could achieve a state of oneness with the divine, universal consciousness, nature which would lead to an embodied state of self realization.
Recognizing this true self is, this unified state is the embodiment of yoga. This deep wisdom was cultivated in India and it's intention of being a practice for inner wellbeing to bring spiritual liberation.
Now for a moment bring back into your mind downdogs and warrior poses. Today in the West we hold this to be what yoga is all about and in that we have washed away the sacred core founded in India.
We desire to make a SHIFT back to the roots of WHY we should show up on our yoga mat.
For us it isn't about physical fitness. There are many great benefits achieved in the body and the purpose of physical poses, which came to be long after the heart of yoga crystillized in India, is to prepare the body to sustain higher levels of energy and remove subtle blockages so the body can sit for meditation