What is Yoga?

Here at Stella Luna Yoga, we create a space where Yoga is easy and accessible. We get questions all the time about yoga, and “what is it exactly,” hopefully this post will provide some clarity as you continue on your journey.

What is Yoga?

The word Yoga means “to yoke,” “to bring together.”

Yoga is not a religion.

Yoga is the Spiritual technology that unifies mind, body & soul.

It is the original Do-It-Yourself Life School.  

Yoga is based on the 8 limbed path. And The physical practice of yoga is just one of the limbs.

Each of these limbs can be studied independently and/or in-depth but, it is important to master the basics of them all.  So you can customize your own journey of Yoga.

8 Limb Path

  1. Niyamas: Observances for self care

  2. Yamas: Observances in relation with others

  3. Asana: poses/exercises

  4. Pranayama: Breath Control

  5. Pratyahara: Withdrawal of the senses

  6. Dhyana: Focus

  7. Dharana: Meditation

  8. Samadhi: Absorption

Niyamas & Yamas
The Yamas and Niyamas are yoga’s ethical guidelines. They’re a map written to guide you on your life’s journey.  The Yamas are observances & behaviors to guide us in our interactions with other people and the world, and the Niyamas are observances for our own self care.  Together, they form a moral code of conduct.

The 5 Yamas:
Ahimsa: nonviolence. “I am Love”
Satya: truthfulness. “I speak the truth”
Asteya: not stealing: “I have everything I need.”
Brahmacharya: non-excess (often interpreted as celibacy). “I easily abstain.”
Aparigraha: non-possessiveness, non-greed. “I am not attached to the outcome.”

The Niyamas:
Saucha: purity. “I have a pure heart and a clean mat.”
Santosha: contentment. “I accept the circumstances as they are.”
Tapas: self-discipline, training your senses. “I motivate myself.”
Svadhyaya: self-study, inner exploration: “I acknowledge who I am.”
Ishvara Pranidhana: surrender. “This is heaven on earth. I surrender to the mystery.”

Commonly used sanskrit words:

Savasana/Shavasana/Svasana: means “corpse” pose.  It is the final relaxation part of class.

Om: (or Aum) is the sound of the universe. Enhances a state of well-being.

Namaste: The light in me, honors/bows the light in you.

Shanti: Peace

There are many different Schools & styles of Yoga. They each offer different techniques & methods of finding union.

Styles of Yoga Asana that we offer at Stella Luna Yoga:
Basics: this is a blend of common poses that allows all bodies to feel comfortable & good.
All Levels/Flow: this is a faster moving practice based on sun salutations. Meant to warm-up the body.
Restorative/Gentle: is slow and easy, used as Meditation
Yin: slow, yet not easy, the long holds deeply stretch ligaments

Yoga Etiquette:

  • no cell phone

  • remove shoes before entering the yoga room

  • stay on your mat, recognize personal shared space

  • Do not walk on another mat

  • use the blocks/blankets. They make it that much better.

  • Avoid perfumes

  • come on time & stay till the end of class to respect the sacred circle

  • Your yoga practice begins as soon as you walk in. Be mindful.

  • Seva (selfless service) at your home studio

Our favorite yoga reading for those wanting to dive a little deeper:

Suggested Reading: The 7 Spiritual Laws of Yoga by Deepak Chopra