Does Everyone “Need” Yoga?

New Moon Mandala for the last cycle of 2019 … & this decade! Thanks to April McMurtry & her “The Moon is My Calendar” for inspiration these past 2 years.

A question my friend & fellow teacher Kristin discussed this week … “Does everyone need Yoga?”

I’ve found incredible benefit from the Yoga practices — physical postures, breath practices, relaxation, meditation, daily lifestyle habits — & if you’re reading this post, you probably have too, or have an inkling that Yoga might benefit you.

I recently watched a talk by Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa on the research supporting the benefits of Yoga. Here’s the link on Yoga International:

Screenshot_2019-11-30 Yoga, Meditation, and Trauma A Deeper Look at the Research Yoga International

I got to hear Dr. Khalsa speak at a Yoga Service Council conference a few years ago … It was pretty cool to learn from a guy who meshes the ancient science of Yoga with modern Western scientific research. His talk gave me a ton of reasons why everyone “should” practice Yoga. 😉


So given my experience, the up-&-coming research, & the millenia that this Science of Yoga has been practiced … of course I’m prone to believe that everyone needs Yoga.


And I could be wrong.


There are many paths to self-realzation … to health & well-being … to just feeling good in one’s own skin. Yoga is one path.


So I’ll sing the benefits of Yoga — in all its aspects, more than postures — & strive to honor the teachers & wisdom keepers. I’ll share the practices that have supported me, practices my teachers have given to share.


And Yoga may not be for everyone. It may not be the system for you at this time … or ever. There may come a day when I diverge from the Yoga path … Hmmmmm … hadn’t considered that thought.


If we do decide to practice this science of Yoga, Dr. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait of The Himalayan Institute offers advice in his book “Inner Quest: Yoga’s Answers to Life’s Questions”:

How do I know if I am practicing yoga properly?

Chitta vritti nirodha yogaha. – Yoga Sutra 1.2

Yoga is the mastery of the fluctuations of the mind.

Any technique that helps you gain mastery over your mind is a part of Yoga: your diet, exercise, and breathing, as well as your thinking process and your philosophy of life. But with any practice you do, see whether it is helping you become clearer, more concentrated, more organized, and more cheerful. Are you having fewer doubts, fears, attachments, and complications in your life? Is your life becoming simpler and more straightforward? If you are moving in that direction, you are practicing Yoga. If not, there is something wrong either in the practice itself or in the way you are doing it. No matter how glorious a practice seems to be, no matter how popular it is, or how much others seem to admire it, if you do not notice a positive effect on your mind then such a practice does not qualify as Yoga.


May I continue on my path with humility & grace … & honor your path as well. May we strive for communities of well-being for ALL beings. Cheers, E


Published by ericaengel42

I practice & share Hatha Yoga for a simple reason -- it works. Hatha Yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is a holistic system of philosophy & practices passed down through an unbroken 5,000 year lineage of Himalayan sages. What Hatha Yoga is not: trendy, bendy or one-&-done. What Hatha Yoga is: a systematic approach to uncovering the real, authentic YOU in body, mind & spirit. Hatha Yoga cultivates well-being, stability, clarity & ease in modern life through traditional, time-tested practices. I also recognize both our shared humanity & our differing privileges & barriers -- I am a cis-gendered white female with a graduate degree, who has dealt with family trauma & an eating disorder. My goals in my own practice include to cultivate awareness of my own privileges & social conditioning, unlearn & re-learn in order to be mindful & take compassionate action toward a more beautiful, just & peaceful world for ALL humans, creatures & our Earth. I'm making mistakes daily, & hopeful that I'm falling forward toward these goals & vision. I hope we can walk our paths & support each other along the way.

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