What Is Yoga?
Lesson time 05:41 min
Donna shares her understanding of what yoga is and explains how the physical practice of yoga can be used.
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Topics include: The Physical Practice of Yoga
Teaches Yoga Foundations
Renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi teaches you the most essential physical and mental elements of creating a safe, sustainable practice.Sign Up
[NON-ENGLISH SINGING] - Whenever anybody asks me what is yoga, I'm momentarily left speechless, even after all these years of practicing. But we can get closer to some understanding of it by, first of all, acknowledging where it came from. It originated from the ancient teachings in India, the mother country, where this tradition was born. The text, the sacred text, that I draw my personal understanding of what yoga is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and in that second Sutra-- there's 996 of them-- but in the second Sutra, Patanjali describes yoga as the settling of the mind back into its original silence. So there's an implication that that silence, that stillness in the mind, has always been there, and that the practice is about restoring our connection to that. How do I reconnect to that larger force that is not only animating me, but it's animating the entire world? It is bringing the sun up in the morning. It is creating the ebb and flow of tides. It is part of the cycle of life of being born, of regenerating life, and of dying. How do I reconnect with that, so I re-find my place in the world? We may move through some real storms in our life, and there have been many moments in my life where everything is falling apart. Everything seemingly is being shattered into 1,000 pieces, and it's in that moment that I'll often hear myself say thank goodness I've had all of these years of practice to be able to find some part of myself that is not changing. This unshakable, pristine, 100% okay, could never be damaged by any experience. Thank goodness I have access to that, because that is where I need to be in this moment to be able to stay steady. The Dalai Lama has often said that people imagine happiness as this giddy state, where it's all glistening and wonderful and exciting, but really, happiness is a feeling of smoothness. It's just a calmness, a contentedness. [MUSIC PLAYING] In the definition of the physical practice of yoga is Sthira Sukham Asana. Sthira means steady, strong, stable, unshakable. Sukham. The two words, su means good. Kham means space. Asana, comfortably seated. So I understand that Sutra to mean, which defines what the physical practices are, as wherever I am, I can seat myself. I can comfortably seat myself in that steadiness. That's really the focus of the practice, not to move but to find the part of ourselves that is always steady and accessible. How do you want to feel in your life? For some people, it's I want to feel calm, or I want to feel vibrantly healthy again. The practice really is just to reveal that, reveal that as a present tense possibility.
About the Instructor
With nearly 40 years of experience, Donna Farhi is one of the most sought-after yoga instructors in the world. Now the “teacher of teachers” is sharing her approach to creating a safe, sustainable yoga practice with students of all levels. Whether you’re looking to realign with the heart of traditional yoga or are just getting started, learn postures, foundations, and philosophies to guide you on your journey.
Featured Masterclass Instructor
Renowned yoga instructor Donna Farhi teaches you the most essential physical and mental elements of creating a safe, sustainable practice.Explore the Class