A small, friendly yoga studio in the Upper Monroe neighborhood,
beneath the wooded slopes of Pinnacle Hill
firstname.lastname@example.org www.pinnacle-yoga.com (585) 473-2949
99 Crosman Terrace Rochester NY 14620
Isn’t this “hatha yoga” really just exercise?
Despite the philosophical observations on the previous page, many and probably most western yoga practitioners are not seeking liberation from their practice. Students frequently say they are looking for a workout, or want to relax, or to develop more flexibility and stamina.
The question then is how hatha yoga differs from exercise. Our basic answer is that yoga has a much greater inward focus than exercise. Rather than simply doing a pose or movement, we ask the student to be aware what s/he is doing from the inside. Hopefully, this will have the effect of helping us forget the hassles of the day— mentally at least as much as physically.
Here are some further thoughts:
1. Exercise is not a bad goal. Traditionally, asana is about comfort and stability. Making ourselves more comfortable and quieting the mind are certainly worthwhile.
2. Some schools which emphasize meditation view asana primarily as a way to reduce bodily discomfort in order to prepare the body for meditation.
3. The Iyengar school sees hatha yoga as a form of meditation. That is, “meditating” on the pose will calm the mind.
4. By encouraging us to explore deeper and deeper levels of ourselves, yoga can bring us closer to the great stillness within.