What is yoga really?


Words by Jayne Littler

As a yoga teacher, I get asked frequently  "How often do you practice yoga?" By the end of my article, I hope you'll understand my answer "All day every day".

Yoga became part of my life back in 2008, I was living in an unhealthy body and destructive mind. Like many others, I set myself a New Year's Resolution to get physically fit. After reading an article about Hot Yoga and discovering a studio had opened in my city, I decided to give it a go. Society had conditioned me to believe happiness will be found in a size 8 body. My first class was crazy tough, 90 minutes in 40 degrees heat. I quickly saw the physical benefits and became addicted, at one point I was going 4/6 times a week. It was all about the asana.

Fast forward to 2018 my journey has completely evolved. Yoga has become my way of life, it’s no longer about the asana. After letting go of my ego I knew a size 8 body wouldn't be the key to happiness.

At school, there isn't anyone who teaches you how to become unstuck from an unhealthy mind, how to deal with stressful situations and to appreciate your body. Through yoga I learned all of this and more, I believe these to be the most important and wise teachings in life.

Yoga isn't just a physical practice (asana) and the end goal isn't to touch your toes. Yoga means union, we become united with ourselves, other beings and nature. It’s a journey to reach a state of bliss.

There are thousands of years of traditions and teaching behind yoga. The physical practice 'Hatha Yoga' is only a small part. The rest is a purification of the mind, to bring peace into your world and learn to live an ethical and meaningful life. I follow the Eight Limbs of Yoga to try and live a purposeful life, the real yoga happens when I step off the mat.

By choosing yoga as a way of life we are surrendering to a journey to become free, with no expectation of a result. It will never end. It's important we are disciplined with ourselves but treat others with compassion and love. My practice has become spiritual and healing, I know my faults, I am far from perfect. I suppose I've always been on a yogic path, at the age of 11 I chose to become a vegetarian. I felt the suffering of the animals which we were eating and did not want to be part of this violent culture (Ahimsa). I became a teacher to help others realise their potential and help bring peace into my students' lives. I believe it’s very much needed in our chaotic, stressful and demanding western lifestyle.

If you've never taken a yoga class and nervous by seeing pictures of super bendy yogi's, remember the asana isn't the purpose. It's about what happens inside, to create space so you are no longer stuck and learn to silence the noise of the mind. Meditation is yoga, breathing is yoga, cooking a family meal is yoga, yoga can be anything but it must be done with compassion and love.

By choosing to live a life of compassion you are practicing yoga 24/7.

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Jayne Littler is a qualified yoga teacher and writer from the UK. A yogi since 2009, after becoming fed up of living in an unhealthy body and destructive mind. Jayne fell in love with the teachings and traditions of Yoga and fully immersed herself into the culture.

After spending 8 years within the ICT industry, in 2017 she quit her job to fulfill her dreams and passions. Travelling the world to teach, learn and gain valuable knowledge of Yoga. She now dedicates her time to inspire the world to live a more peaceful, happy and healthy life.
Mentoring clients on how to create inner strength, cultivate self-love and being happy in the present moment. You can find out more about here over on her facebook page or on Instagram @Jaynefitspo