Why "Ever Practical Yoga?"
Yoga, meaning "union" or "yoked," is an ancient complex art or practice with as many approaches as there are practitioners. OK, perhaps that’s a bit of an overstatement, but if you do a Google search on “yoga,” in under .27 seconds you will get no less than 2.3 Billion results. Now, that’s a lotta yoga!
But it’s even more complex. As befits a good search engine, the top hits are for local yoga studios. Good. But which studio to choose? A quick look at the studio and class descriptions shows that there is often is no class called “yoga.” Instead, you may see "hatha yoga," which basically encompasses all physical yoga focusing on poses and breath. From there it starts to get more interesting. One studio offers hot yoga, another vinyasa or flow yoga. Another studio offers alignment-based yoga, another yin yoga. There are studios offering prenatal, postnatal, and fertility yoga, partner yoga, and aerial yoga. And then there’s yoga targeted to specific audiences such as seniors, teens, children, toddlers, parent and baby yoga, and yoga for the military, yoga for first responders, and yoga for trauma survivors. There are classes focused on therapeutic yoga such as yoga for injuries, illnesses, and special conditions, including: yoga for amputees, yoga for those living with Parksinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and cancer, and those recovering from stroke, heart issues, neurological issues, and more. There’s even yoga designed for sports enthusiasts, such as golfers, gardeners, runners, bikers, kyakers, and yes, even knitters!
Further reading offers up aspects of yoga that seem on the surface to have little to do with physical yoga. Such listings include meditation, breath work, chanting, philosophy, and study of the ancient language of yoga, Sanskrit. Then there's Ayurveda, considered the sister science of yoga, a complex system prescribing healthy living through food and lifestyle choices. And on and on. It’s enough to drive someone new to yoga a bit crazy trying to figure out which way to go first.
But even though this myriad of choices may be a bit hard on the newbie, one might conclude that there must be something pretty terrific about an ancient practice that can spin off so many variations and appeal to such diverse audiences. Such a practice or system would seem to necessitate a solid core that’s versatile enough to be customized, yet strong enough to retain its foundation. Of course with such customization, at some point one runs the risk of losing the core, but that's another topic for another day. Instead, I would argue that the solid core, the current that runs through the varieties and interpretations of what is generally termed “Modern Postural Yoga,” or MPY, is what makes them ultimately similar at a basic level. To me, that solid core has everything to do with what is life-affirming, practical, and applicable right here, right now, practices that can enhance one's daily health, wellness, and sense of self. Therefore, discovering and applying the practical aspects of yoga is exactly what Ever Practical Yoga is about.