For one, it’s because yoga is one of the first records of us venturing into human physiology, psychology and philosophy through the body, mind, and spirit. I find yoga, and it's history, fascinating.
Yoga is a great exploration into the mechanics of movement, the parasympathetic power of breath and the enrichment of the soul.
But... I have always been a sceptic. It's just part of my personality.
It means that time and time again I look for hard facts to how, what and why we yoga.
I will relentlessly pull something apart, like an asana (yoga pose), and figure out what makes it tick and how it can be best applied in a practical setting. But what fascinates me the most are the things science can’t prove; great mysteries.
Those little exceptions that just ‘are the way they are’… those are the bits I like to home in on and take some time to enjoy.
Stop. Okay, rewind. Time for a story:
So, I attended a yoga class and the yoga teacher proclaimed: “Take a deep breath. Bring more oxygen into the body, more oxygen into the brain.”
Instantly, I wanted to take out my glasses and whiteboard and start to explain why this statement is inaccurate (I had diagrams and colour coded labels at the ready, ha!).
Taking a deeper breath doesn’t directly increase the volume of oxygen you have in the blood; in the body/brain. (I won’t bore you with the mumbo-jumbo, just trust me on this one).
But what the yoga teacher said next, stuck with me more; “…Doesn’t it feel good?”
And I thought to myself, “YES! Yes, it does.”
In breathing and respiration, the diaphragm descends and pulls air into the lungs and when this happens muscles, connective tissue, organs (and more) begin to move (think of it as a gentle internal massage).
Take a breath deep enough, at the right speed and with enough conviction and, voila! You have yourself a little bit of pleasure.
Back to why…
Well... I just don’t know. Sure, we can link it to how CO2 levels affect the brain, how it can affect the nervous system, how movement can simply feel good…
But it ends up going from - We feel ‘X’ because of ‘Y’.
And changes into - We feel ‘X’ because of ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’ and so on and on…
It is at that point I thought, 'stop thinking about it, just enjoy it’ and It is at that point I was truly doing yoga.
Shifting from thinking to feeling.