Hatha Yoga, Schmata Yoga

Jul 28, 2021


A meditation master once taught:

Hatha Yoga, Schmata* Yoga. Even an elephant can stand on his front legs, but is your inner courtyard filled with the fragrance of your own love?

(*Schmata is the Yiddish word for a rag or old, ragged clothing)

It’s a question I come back to again and again: What makes postural practice more than physical exercise, even when done with mindful awareness, conscious breathing, and good alignment?

And the answer keeps coming back: it’s the context we give it, the intention behind it, and the inner trajectory it moves us in that brings asana into the realm of spiritual practice and part of a larger path of personal growth.

All we do on our mats - the one-pointedness we nurture, the agility we engender, the vitality we increase, and even the more subtle awareness we cultivate – must be placed in service to our own evolution and becoming a stronger force for love and goodness in the world for it to be yoga.

Although it may hold remarkable and valuable health benefits, a posture is not necessarily anything more than gymnastics unless we choose to make it so.



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