This thing called YOGA
Fancy wrapping your legs behind your head? Doing a handstand on a tropical beach with the sunset in the background? Arching back till the crown of you head touches the sole of your foot in King Pigeon Pose (and then of course posting it on Facebook)? Is this yoga?
Yoga is many different things to many different people. But it’s really only in the last fifteen years or so that yoga has exploded on the scene and gone mainstream, turning into the modern fad and multi-million dollar industry that it is today – a yoga studio on every other city block, various lines of yoga fashion wear, and yoga teacher training courses in every city from Rome to Rishikesh. And the range of what’s on offer is mind-boggling – hot yoga, power yoga, vinyasa flow, ashtanga, Iyengar, Shivananda, yin yoga, acro yoga… the list is almost endless! No longer seen as something exotic and esoteric, 21st century yoga is hip. It is sexy to be doing yoga.
But with the popularization of modern yoga, have we lost sight of the very essence, the heart of what yoga is all about?
When hatha yoga first started springing up in the west from the 1970s, it was primarily a system of gentle exercises of body and breath, to induce calm and relaxation. More often than not, these exercises were accompanied by some form of meditation, keeping in mind the definition of yoga in the classic Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: “Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind.”
Fast-forward to 2016. Modern commercial yoga is very highly physical, more and more resembling aerobics or acrobatics than anything “yogic”. Meditation, if it is taught at all, is just a nice afterthought.
The primary difference between yoga and conventional forms of physical exercise is that in yoga, the attention is turned inward. Awareness is cultivated of the various ongoing processes of body and mind. The physical aspect is certainly important, but never just for its own sake. Through the correct understanding and proper application of alignment, breath, and the mechanics of movement, the body grows in strength and flexibility, and progressively blooms open, making the heart-mind more spacious, clear, and still. Every yoga posture is a meditation posture. Yoga is the art and the practice of training the body to still the mind.
Yoga Retreat in Koh Chang, Thailand
Here at The Spa Koh Chang, whether you are doing one of our detox programs or enjoying the healthy food, the whole ethos is about cultivating a healthy body, while the serene environment helps bring calm and clarity to the mind. In line with that, the yoga classes and retreats that we offer are also with that aim in mind. Our professional and highly competent teachers here, whatever period of the year that you are our guest here, will share their deep understanding of yoga with you – the art and the practice of training the body to still the mind.
And yoga is for EVERYBODY!, not just slim and fit young women.
“Everybody” includes men. It includes seniors. It includes the bigger-built. And it also includes complete beginners. Take a quick look at this video clip:
Our highly experienced teachers know how to tailor each class to the needs of individual students.
So come and join us for a yoga class or a yoga retreat at The Spa Koh Chang. You will be a completely new person!
Article: This Thing Called Yoga
Writer: Kailash Lim
Residence Yoga Instructor at The Spa Koh Chang Resort
Kailash will be with us again from November 2017