Are You Practicing Yoga On Your Mat Or Just Doing Yoga Exercise?

I was talking today before my event about the difference between practicing yoga and doing yoga exercise...  

There's nothing wrong with a class that is simply a yoga exercise class but it's very different than a yoga class.  The goal of yoga is to quiet the mind.  In stillness, we have the opportunity to experience the deepest aspect of who we are.  Yoga is really answering the question: Who am I?  

So, if the goal is to quiet the mind?  How do we do that?  How do you quiet your mind?

The yogis say we need 3 things in order to be practicing yoga: Intensity, self study, and surrender.

Intensity:  Go into the fire.  Self Study:  Stay present, observe your experience.  Surrender:  Let go of anything that is coming up for you.

That's it.  It's so simple.  Go into the fire, stay present, observe your experience, and let go of anything that is coming up for you.  This is how you practice yoga.

Eventually, after years of practicing, and using this incredible technology, the mind stops trying to distract you, and there's no more stuff coming up that you need to let go of, and you experience stillness. The mind is quiet. 

The part of you that is left over in the stillness, when the mind is quiet, is the part the yogi's call, "pure consciousness", or, "pure awareness", and sometimes the "big S Self". This is where the term Self-realization comes from.  Self-realization is the experience of your "Self" in the stillness, when the mind is quiet. 

You can use this yoga technology on your mat, and you can also be on your mat doing yoga exercise, and not practicing yoga at all.  It's up to you.  And you can use this yoga technology off your mat too.  That's why this practice can be so transformational and have an affect on every aspect of your life.   

If you know the goal and the destination, then you can head in that direction.  If you understand how to practice yoga, then you can use this technology.  Along the way to quieting the mind, you're still getting a workout, you're still getting stronger and more flexible, you're still doing yoga exercise, but you're also quieting your mind.  This is the key thing that's missing when you are just doing yoga exercise, and it's so huge once your realize that this is the key.  

This technology is what has made this practice different and more meaningful for me than anything else I've ever done in my life.  

Thanks for practicing with me today, Equinox Yorkville!  It was so much fun!  Namaste.