The originators of yoga were not likely concerned with the style of yoga that people were doing at the time, or the level of dedication with which they practiced. For that matter, there was probably little attention paid to what clothes they were wearing or what language they spoke. They likely created the practice from what inspired them as individuals; what came to them through their personal desires or needs.
In many ways, that concept still holds true today. Yoga remains rooted in its ancient values and you see it in most classes. Yogis continue to celebrate its beginnings by honoring the uniqueness of their own style, preferences, needs and capabilities. Yes, the traditions of yoga remain intact. But that doesn’t mean its unchanging. Far from it in fact. Yoga has evolved substantially over time to become what it is today. Had the practice not departed from its roots in some way during the past thousands of years, we may not be practicing today – at all.
The practice of yoga continues to grow more vibrant every day. There is no question about the popularity of the practice as millions of people across the globe participate. Now yoga is on the brink of another crucial step in its evolution. It is once again returning focus to present things: what we need right here, in this culture, and in our time.
As time constraints and busy lifestyles have evolved, so too has the practice. One of the many things that I appreciate about Oya Yoga is that it’s steeped in community while still valuing individualism. With a few moments at the beginning of class, or at the end – or perhaps both, yogis reflect on their own needs and purpose. It is modern, arguably more individualized practice among a community of like-minded practitioners from diverse backgrounds – this is what I know and appreciate about yoga today. We can make it our own. When you practice, whatever your style or preference, yoga opens us up for greater awareness to expand our creativity; it offers an opportunity to re-center – to calm the chaos; an opportunity to connect to what matters most.
Everything changes, and yoga has evolved to become the modern, functional practice that works well for our on-the-go, mobile-minded culture. As a practitioner for more than 20 years, I believe there is a balance of honoring tradition while welcoming modernization. We can benefit from celebrating and learning from yoga’s originators, but we also grow exponentially when we make room for modernization.