The big difference between yoga and other forms of exercise is that yoga is not just physical exercise, it is movement with mental presence. The word YOGA means Yoke or Union. The union of all parts of self in meditative motion.
Making the shift from the mind/body separation to an experience of wholeness or mind/body union creates an authentic experience of yoga. This grounds us in the present. Not what could be, will be or might be, but what is; Reality. Living real empowers us to honestly observe ourselves within our reality and heightens an awareness that we play a role in how that reality pans out.
A wholeness approach can be applied to anything – work, play, rest – and anything can be yoga, the practice of mind/body union.
Unfortunately we have a tendancy to switch between mind and body which creates a disconnect from reality. There can be a tendency to move through an exercise routine like another task to tick off. We set goals for somewhere out there in the future (a certain fitness level, weight loss, etc) and disconnect from the actual experience. Mentally detached, we quickly get bored and lose interest in maintaining physical health. Or we detach from the physical while we focus on using the mind – at work for example. At the end of the work day we find ourselves in physical pain with sore backs and tight necks from sitting at the desk for so long, with little physical awareness or body connection.
The joy of yoga is that there is nowhere to get to and nothing to wait for – the experience is happening right now. It’s not uncommon that people come to yoga for the physical benefits, and end up staying for all the other benefits a wholeness practice provides. We observe how we create each moment by our response to that moment. Living in wholeness exposes us to truth and to transformation.