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Yoga isn't Just with Goats

By Hannah Slattery, LPC, NCC

My experience with yoga had been very minimal up until I recently decided to start working on my yoga instructor course. Besides a few classes here and there I didn’t know much and was most definitely a novice. The history of yoga is not concrete and potentially dates back thousands of years, rooting itself in India. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that yoga was brought to the America’s and it took even longer for it to become the cultural norm it is now. 


The Sanskrit word yoga has several translations and can be interpreted in many ways. It comes from the root yug and originally meant "to hitch up," as in attaching horses to a vehicle. Another definition was "to put to active and purposeful use." Still, other translations are "yoke, join, or concentrate." Essentially, yoga has come to describe a means of uniting or a method of discipline. (A Beginners Guide to the History of Yoga)  

8 Limbs of Yoga

So besides contorting your body in uncomfortable ways or having goats sit on your back while doing a downward dog pose, what is yoga? Yoga is an art, it’s a passion and it’s a potential way of life. There are 8 limbs or aspects of yoga; Yamas, Niyamas, Asana, Pranayama, Pratayahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samdhi. Yamas are one’s ethics or integrity, this is how we conduct ourselves and interact with the world.