Yoga; From wine, to goats, to true enlightenment.

Yoga; From wine, to goats, to true enlightenment

Yoga; From wine, to goats, to true enlightenment

As the interest and popularity of yoga continues to expand world wide, so do the weird and wonderful ways we ‘practice yoga’.

Stemming, among other things, from the traditional Ashtanga series, we are now in a place where booking onto a yoga class entails of sitting down with a brochure and a flask full of tea, and somehow picking the best, or most beneficial class for you as an individual. If you’re lucky, your Yogi- tea will still be luke-warm by the time you’ve booked onto your next class: offering you a moment to breathe and remind yourself of the yogi-quote on the side of your  tea cup.

Have you ever had to search the name of something you can’t remember in the yellow pages? Well, the 2018 yoga search is something similar.

We sit here having to choose between Ashtanga yoga, Vinyasa yoga, Hatha Yoga, Warm Yoga, Hot yoga, Strengthening Yoga, Slow Yoga,  HIIT yoga, Bikram Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga, Yang Yoga, Naked Yoga, Booty Yoga, Ariel Yoga, Acro Yoga, SUP yoga, floating yoga, Laughter Yoga, Singles Yoga, Bro Yoga, Cat Yoga, Bunny yoga, Dog Yoga, Wine Yoga, Beer Yoga, and, if your local studio has the facilities; Goat Yoga. (To name a few.)

I’m not one to criticise any of the above branches of yoga. I’m an open minded individual and am sure that each and every strand has a unique approach and many benefits at its heart. Besides, who wouldn’t love the opportunity to do downward dog with a goat on your back.

I wonder why Yoga has been made, what seems to be an overcomplicated task. Where can we find the answer to what class we should go to, or what strand of yoga we should practice? I feel lost in a whirl pool of Bamboo Yoga Mats, Sports wear,  BPA free re-usable water bottles, new class recommendations and goats.

The reason I’m raising such a statement, is that somewhere amongst the hundreds of outcomes of yoga, (whether this is the very common reasons of weight loss, flexibility or strength, or laughter, positivity and valued time with friends), I feel that we are maybe loosing our why.

The real why.

So, why do you practice yoga?

Perhaps yoga may be your way of maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Perhaps yoga may help you to touch your toes, or help relieve the pain and symptoms of a lower back injury. Perhaps you’re wanting to hold a handstand long enough to take a selfie on a beach, or maybe your local studio has a great community hub, or a class time that fits perfectly around your schedule.

Whatever your reason, know that that has value. But, today I want to offer a further, deeper reason as to why you may roll out your mat. A reason that stems from the origination of yoga: and with this, comes a quick history lesson. (I’ll keep it short, I promise.)

Ashtanga yoga (the original, goat-less form of yoga), was first developed by Pantanjali approximately 2,000 years ago, and literally translates as “Eight Limbs”. Each “limb” can be described as a step by step, or a level or process. Complete level one, move onto level two … and so on. With this, the goal as it were, is to get to level eight. Get to level 8, and you win a gold medal / the lottery / a first class honours. This prize you receive is secret code language for unconditional happiness, or enlightenment, as traditional yogis refer it to. It is believed that enlightenment, or Samadhi, is the ultimate goal of yoga. It is here that you live in an ultimate state of bliss and connection with the universe.

So, how can I reach enlightenment?! I hear you cry. Well, you follow each of these steps;

Level one: Yamas

Social practices and ethical standards; For example -social observations, morals, relationships

Level Two: Niyamas

Internal/ personal Practices; For example – self-reflection, self-discipline, contentment.

Level Three: Asanas

Physical postures and practice of Yoga.

Level Four: Pranayama

Breathing techniques and practice.

Level Five: Pratyahara

Withdrawal of the senses, meaning to be involved in the present with no distractions. 

Level Six: Dharana


Level Seven: Dhyana

Meditation or contemplation. 

Level Eight: Samadhi

Described as a state of ecstasy; achieving an interconnectedness with all living things and ultimate bliss with the universe.


It’s pretty straight forward, really. This step by step guide may help explain that Yoga doesn’t necessarily mean rolling out a mat, or investing in a goat pen either. As mentioned before, Ashtanga, meaning Eight Limbs, has levels one and two; the Yamas and Niyama, before you even consider putting on your Leggings. And, even once you’re dressed and ready to flow, Yoga Asana (Level three) still only remains at 1/8th of what it means to practice yoga.

Through the time we invest in tuning into our own bodies, meditation, kindness to yourself and kindness to others, well, this is where the beauty and power of yoga takes place.

This is where the journey of self discovery begins. Truly begins.

Imagine if we could flip around the current ‘why’s of practising yoga to mould around the principles of self discovering. I’ll ask you again.

So, why do you practice yoga?

Perhaps this is dedicated time to practice acceptance and kindness; and an opportunity to love yourself and your surroundings for what it already is. Perhaps yoga for you means a practice of trust and of patience. Perhaps this is a time for you to let go. To let go of everything.  Perhaps you allow yourself to find value and to give time to your overall wellness and being. Or perhaps you are embarking on your journey to find presence in every day living.

Whatever your possible why from this list, imagine this reason being on the top of your every day to-do list. Imagine a life where self-love and kindness takes priority over household chores. Or a life where patience and trust in the universe is placed over the ability, for example, to touch your toes.

Finding compassion, joy and kindness in the here and now is something which is a fundamental offering in yoga practice. It comes. It always comes. And, perhaps even lies at the heart of yoga.

It may not be your why, but it sure is an overlooked benefit of yoga. I can’t help but feel that the number and dedication of students in yoga would increase immensely, if benefits such as unconditional happiness, peace and self love were promoted and thrived for over stronger shoulders or more flexible hamstrings. The world would be a warmer, kinder place if self achievement was measured in happiness, love, and kindness as opposed to materialistic achievement.

“Hey instagram look at me! I can handstand.”
“I wish I can handstand. I can’t handstand. I’m not good enough. Boo Hoo.”

“Hey Instagram look at me! I meditated for a whole ten minutes today!”
“I wish I can meditate. Oh wait, everyone can meditate. I feel great. Yipeeee.”

See? Simple!

Rewinding past this meditation analogy, back past the journey to self discovery, and over the eight limbs of yoga (pat on the back if you’re still with me), I asked why yoga has been made such an overcomplicated task. (Another pat on the back if you remembered that).  For those who are lost, here it is again:

I wonder why Yoga has been made, what seems to be an overcomplicated task. Where can we find the answer to what class we should go to, or what strand of yoga we should practice? I feel lost in a whirl pool of Bamboo Yoga Mats, Sports wear,  BPA free re-usable water bottles, new class recommendations and goats.

Perhaps the answer to such a complicated yoga search isn’t in the investment of a goat pen, SUP board or brand of leggings. Maybe the answer for our search comes from something a lot simpler. Something that takes time and patience, but, doesn’t cost a penny, a trip to Thailand, nor a masterclass in handstands.

The search to yoga can only begin by finding by one thing.



Written by Charlotte


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