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Traditional yoga: an illusion?

Dernière mise à jour : 1 mars

Many are looking for traditional yoga sessions, while others want anything but. But what does a traditional yoga class really mean? Does it really exist?

Yoga's place of origin

Although the practice has been most alive and kicking in India and Asia over the ages, methods of self-exploration - because that's what yoga is all about - have been current in various parts of the world, cultures and communities.

A variety of practices can be found throughout the world, from Sufism, to ancient Egypt, to South American shamanism, to African spiritual practices, to the Celts, to name but a few.

India is a catalyst for this quest, having kept it alive at a big scale and strongly present over the centuries. [However, it should not be forgotten that it is also a financial resource for the country. As a result, there is a wide range of quality courses and teaching. But just because you go to India to train or take a course doesn't mean you'll have a direct experience of the essence of Yoga.]

It's pertinent to understand that the quest for this connection with oneself has no nationality, no place in space, nor can it be appropriated. It transcends all times, all histories.

The history of yoga

Now we come to the equally crunchy point that yoga has never had just one form of practice. Looking at the history books, we understand that it has always evolved and adapted to the contexts of life through the ages. At the same time, various approaches coexisted, more or less peacefully, one practicing this or that type of rite and the other this or that type of rite.

Something unified them and still does: the call to inner exploration, to explore one's own potential.

Modern yoga is described as being opposed to traditional yoga, whereas the history of yoga was already in the process of adapting to societal needs.

So, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as traditional Yoga. When we speak of traditional yoga, we should be referring to the essence of yoga itself, not to the form of practice or method. This is obvious from the moment we experience its essence directly, or through a strong intuitive connection.

A modernized approach can enable you to reconnect with your deepest self, your truth. Whereas an older approach may not suit us. It's not about the form of the tool, but how it's used and why.

Marie Mazeau, Lifexploratrice, certified full-time Yoga teacher in Paris, specialising in gentle, joyful, educational and meditative sessions online, for individuals, associations, companies and studios.


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