Most modern yogis agree it is a huge relief to focus on the simple “be”-ing of life, and that keeps us coming back to our mats every day. It really is easy to understand, considering how busy most everyone is in the Western world.
However, the westernization of yoga through hatha yoga doesn’t change what yoga is except in that it evolves the practice. The word “hatha” in Sanskrit means “force”, and hatha yoga was established in hopes of “forcing” the benefits of the practice, as well as the practice itself, upon the individual. This branch of yoga is where we see a driven focus on the asanas.
A contemporary twist to yoga offered by the western world are more fitness and sculpt based styles of yoga. As this trend continues to sweep North America, it has evolved quickly over the past five years alone. Many classes teach it as “yoga with weights” while others incorporate less yoga and more body-weight exercises, modeled as “fitness-style yoga”.
These classes are much more challenging than a regular Vinyasa flow, or even a hot class, but since most still incorporate a Surya Namaskara (sun salutation) sequence, it is still considerably hatha yoga.
One fascinating aspect of these higher intensity practices is the impact they can have on meditation. The word meditation immediately brings to mind for most an image of Buddha sitting under a tree, likely in lotus pose, with eyes closed and blank contentment on his face. This state of “be”-ing is rarely regarded as what it is, a conscious effort to be with the divine. It is also an act of doing. Expanding upon this concept therefore, allows meditation to truly be anything.
Yoga, and yoga and fitness styles, can be considered forms of movement meditation. Movement meditation has also begun to stir the consciousness of many individuals all over the world, as classes continue to take forms which fuse yoga, dance, and movement.
Although sitting still in the dark or under a tree is one way to meditate, it doesn’t diminish the fact that meditation is an action which is performed, and that there is no real right or wrong way to make meditation happen.
Rather than only enjoying who you become by the action, enjoy the process of the action itself. You may realize the product or result is actually much more fleeting than the process, which must always churn out a new product.
“Do”-ing more with your yoga and meditation practice, such as fitness styles of yoga, serve to enhance your focus, eventually allowing you to perform more advanced functions later on in your life journey, likely at a quicker rate. Speed isn’t the end goal here; the end goal is simply getting the absolute most out of your practice. It all comes down to your motive.
Ultimately, everything comes in moderation and equilibrium. It’s important to relish the “do”-ing at least as much as the “be”-ing.
Allowing this mindset to take fold increases the “yoga anywhere and everywhere” mentality by opening up new insights into just what yoga is and can be.
Hanuman, the famous Eastern half-monkey God, is notorious for praising the “do”, in his devotional service to Lord Rama. His lesson was that there is and always will be more karma and dharma to serve, so it is best to happily put the required work in, to reap as many benefits as possible.
Yes, you’ll need to cross the barrier of having to do more work to getting to do more work, but you’ll also recognize many benefits to your regular practice. If you do more you’ll be more.
By Moses Hunter
Moses is a young artist living in Denver, CO with huge aspirations to travel the world, entertaining large crowds. Whether that be through music, poetry, dance, yoga, or comedy, he is always willing to put forth the necessary effort to ensure a quality time is had by all. His most recent efforts include self-publishing four poetry books in 2017, with another on its way in '18. Find and follow Moses on his social media, Instagram @family._.man, his platform for business inquiries and as a writing platform to showcase and share his creative endeavors.
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