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What is "Yoga"?

A little background to this post:
We recently posted a few pictures of one lovely yogini, from a photoshoot that was very special to us.

We met Sharron in a New-York yoga class, and we literally could not take our eyes off her. She was elegant, her practice accurate, calm and graceful, and we had to approach her and ask if she'd like to take a few pictures for us. 

We don't require our yoginis to have any modelling experience, and like to let them bring their own authentic and unique qualities into the pictures (read about it here). Sharron is a yoga teacher, actress and dancer, and oh boy did she bring some talent and elegance to our photoshoot!

These pictures raised an interesting discussion, as some commenters mentioned that Sharon is a ballerina (which is very true), and the poses are dance, and not yoga (also true?). 
So what is yoga, and what makes a yogi? Is a yogi only a yogi when they are doing an asana? How important are the asanas in the big picture of yoga?

According to Patanjali, asanas and pranayama, which are the more "famous" aspects of yoga, are only two of eight limbs of yoga. Do I need to practice all eight to be a yogi? If we do these two very well, but do not meditate (dhyana), or don't practice sense withdrawal and non-attachment (pratyahara), are we not yogis?

“You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state.” - Sharon Gannon

So all that (long) introduction is to say we believe yoga cannot be summed into one strict definition. We can definitely say that we see yoga as a holistic way of life, and love the definition one commenter gave us; "yoga is an inner practice of healing and transformation".

We see our business ethics and corporate culture as an incredibly important aspect of what makes us a yoga brand. Our code of social conduct (yamas and niyamas) promotes non-violence, compassion and truthfulness, along with sustainability, fair trade and ethical employment. Our clothes are made to support your yoga practice and are designed to help breathing, not restrict movement, be comfortable, and clean of toxins that are harmful for you and for the environment. Why should all that joy only be restricted to yoga and asana practice?

So while all of our yoginis practice asanas, they embody many other aspects of yoga, and they bring yoga into everything they do. Yoga isn't a sport to us, but a way of life that promotes physical and mental health, and so it only makes sense that yogis bring its principles (and clothing) into other activities. Can we say yoga is as yogi does? ;)

Some yogis do acrobalance and dance!

Some yogis are ballerinas and some ballerinas are yogis:

Some are acrobats, fitness lovers and ninjas:

 And these three yogis are a dancer, a surfer and a rock climber (and only one isn't a certified yoga teacher - can you guess who is who?):

We'll finish with a big virtual hug of love and appreciation to all yogis who bring the yoga spirit into their other sports and habits, and to those who find that yoga fills their physical and spiritual needs and don't divert from it.
To those who see yoga as a good sport, and others that live by it's teachings but struggle to bring themselves to practice. 

In whatever aspects of yoga you choose to bring into your life, we hope they bring you joy and happiness, and are an expression of samadhi - the realization of the true Self.

“The success of Yoga does not lie in the ability to perform postures but in how it positively changes the way we live our lives and our relationships.” - T.K.V. Desikachar

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