What is a yoga practice? Is there a right or wrong way to practice yoga? There are so many teachers, styles, lineages and books how do I know which is the correct way?
The best answer I have for you is... practice! Yoga means something different to each and every person. We all arrive on our mat with a different goal, motivation, emotional state, spiritual journey, struggle and need. Plus, all of that changes each day! Unrolling your mat and having a seat is the first step for many people toward healing. Some of us aren't even sure what we are seeking yet!
Yes, there are many styles and teachings of yoga. Will some people say a certain way of practicing is "wrong?" Yes, I have seen some people claiming certain styles of yoga to not be "true yoga." But in my experience with my own practice.... I do what works for me. Like I said before, everyone's practice is there own. And this practice changes and evolves to fit our lives and our needs. For me, I need a very physical practice in order to quiet my mind and find space. I have struggled with spirituality my whole life and finding it in my practice has been very interesting for me. Over the years, my connection to my breath has grown, I find peace and calmness just by closing my eyes, breathing and moving from posture to posture. My mat truly has become a sanctuary for me. And that is something we all seek in our practice. That place of connection, light, love and peace.
I recently spoke with another fitness instructor about how much yoga has evolved into all kinds of hybrid styles.. incorporating more aspects of other sports or physical activities into classes. People are also coming up with different classes like glow yoga, beer/wine yoga, aerial yoga, silent yoga, etc. leaving a lot of yogis up in arms expressing this is not yoga. In my humble opinion, whatever gets people to try yoga, AWESOME!
Like I said before, yoga is different to each student. We all have our own individualized yoga practice even if we do not have a home practice but instead attend group classes. We may be doing the same sequence as 20 other people but I guarantee the experience is different.
Long story short, make yoga your own. Try different styles, different teachers and explore this amazing practice. Don't avoid a certain yoga practice just because someone else feels it isn't "correct." You are your person, find the path that works for you and enjoy the journey. <3