Ever get that question? “What is Yoga?” Ever get that one? The answer is something we should all have in our pocket, ready to take out and give to whomever is asking. But is there really a good, short explanation?
My friend Jimmy knows what yoga is – skinny suburban housewives in tights driving to Starbucks and doing stretches. My 70-year-old uncle Ernie knows what yoga is – it’s that thing his daughter in law teaches at the local gym.
But really, when someone asks, “What is Yoga?” how do you answer in :30 seconds or less? Do you explain the 8 limbs, meditation, breathing? How do you explain pranayama to your traditional old uncle? How to explain yamas and niyamas to your straight-laced friends and make it understandable? Do you tailor your explanation to the person who is asking it? Do you make it dummy proof like my sophomore football coach at Fenwick when we would make a mistake: “This. Is. A. Football.”
And how do you explain it briefly and concisely so they understand it, and don’t get lost in the details of the explanation or some of the more esoteric practices like devotionals or kirtan? Or think you’re a total weirdo?
So, what is yoga?