Ummm. Of course!
Why wouldn’t it be?
What’s the worst that would happen? You get fit, flexible, and healthy?
We know that general health and wellness promotes happiness, so isn’t that enough?
If you are practicing yoga for exercise, and not so much for the spiritual aspects – then it’s a great start and I say keep doing it!
It would be very un-yogi of me to tell you otherwise.
When I first started yoga, I was interested in the history and spirituality, but what really pulled me in was how challenging it was. I was a little competitive with the postures, and I knew that I was getting a workout.
I loved how this would keep me fit and in shape.
I also loved the community I was connecting with, and learning about all of the little traditions, but It wasn’t until years later that I began embracing meditation, spiritual study, and the other 7 limbs of yoga.
I was actually practicing them the whole time, but I didn’t really know it.
I used to have a hard time admitting that the fitness aspect was a big factor for me, but life is too short to pretend you’re someone you’re not.
It doesn’t make me any less of a yogi or any less spiritual.
In fact, I think by admitting this, I’m accepting myself, my truth, and becoming unattached to these little rules and requirements that some yoga practitioners and teachers have.
It feels damn good I tell ya!
I would go even so far to say that the postures is just as much of a yoga practice as is running or bicying or anything physical for that matter.
Dharana (concentration) is one of the limbs of yoga. It comes right before Dhyana (meditation). The theory is that the more you practice a deep focus on one subject, you eventually move into a meditation, which will expand your awareness and consciousness.
If you’re a runner, you need to focus, right? You need to concentrate. Maybe you’re concentrating on the finish line. You need to focus and motivate your mind. You need to keep going and challenge yourself. You also need to make sure that you’re not injuring yourself, and taking the proper precautions to practice non-harm.
When you’re practicing yoga postures, you also get really deep in concentration. You get really focused on finally nailing crow posture, or binding in that twist. From focusing so deeply on that, you can learn how to use this dedication and persistence in other areas of your life. It will empower you, and you’ll cultivate that never give up attitude. You accomplished a posture you never thought was possible, so why can’t you do this in other areas of your life?
You can apply all of the limbs of yoga into any other activity. Do you play a musical instrument or love cooking. You can even find yoga while cleaning or doing dishes!
So, I think it’s important to know what yoga means, and know that you can practice yoga any way you want. Yoga will work for you wherever you are.
Part of practice is learning to be ok with uncertainty. Yoga might end up transforming your life, or you might just get an amazing workout. If you let people intimidate you – you might never find that. Whatever path you choose, yoga is only going to help you become a better person.
There are a lot of misconceptions about how & why you should be practicing yoga. I don’t think that it has to be complicated.
If you are drawn to it, do it for any reason and let the yoga do the work it’s supposed to.
Why do you practice yoga? How do you want yoga to help you? Are looking for a fit figure, or a calm mind? Do you want to reach enlightenment, or get your legs behind your head? Or all of it?
I want to know!