In the midst of class one day, a youth asked: Do animals do yoga?
What a fun conversation! We discussed the meaning of yoga as defined as Union, “The Sanskrit word yoga has the literal meaning of “yoke”, from a root yuj meaning to join, to unite, or to attach.” We can think of the yoga asana practice as a discipline for humanity to unite themselves with the concept of the universe as infinite, blissful, divine….
If you consider the different levels of consciousness and self awareness in humankind versus the animal and plant kingdom, this might reveal the manner in which yoga that defines their existence.
We as humans have free will, and yoga to us is a discipline, an opportunity, a blessing to create this union within the body, mind, breath and spirit.
Animals live without the same level of self awareness that we experience, and probably don’t perceive themselves as separate from the universe. So in my mind, animals are yoga. In every breath, every moment and action.
To go even deeper, think about the consciousness of plants. I made a mental note to share a passage from “The Yoga of Herbs” by Dr Vasant Lad and Dr David Frawley.
“The Plant Kingdom exists to bring feeling into manifestation. On the plant level, feeling exists in a pure and passive form. The animal and human kingdoms buy weight loss online manifest this more actively, more separately, but with less beauty. Consiousness in plants is on a primal level of unity…
Life forms are stations for the transmission of energy, through which all are nourished. Each thing exists to nourish all others and, in return, to be nourished itself….
Plants bring us love, the nourishing power of the sun, which is the same energy of all the stars, of all light. These cosmic energies emanated by plants thus nourish, sustain and grow our astral body. In this way the existence of plants is a great offering, a sacrifice. They offer us not only their nutritive value, but the very light and love from the stars, from the cosmos whose messengers they are. They bring us to the universal light so we can enter the universal life.”
Every week is a new connection, a new conversation, a new opportunity to open ourselves further to Yoga.
I opened this question to our community via twitter.
Gina (@lvartmom) tweeted: @streetyoga Love that! Tell them animals naturally do yoga and as people we imitate their stretches, hence the nicknames of the poses.
A few Street Yoga class favorites include Crow Pose (Bakasana) Cobra (Balasana)!
In my experience Downward Facing Dog is fairly challenging to most street kids, and many take the option of resting in Child’s Pose (Balasana).