I wrapped up a pretty strenuous week with some nice yoga to ease my battered body. It felt wonderful to be all by myself in a quiet room and just breathe. (Speaking of breathing, I even started by practicing a pranayama that I learned in class some time ago, ujjayi pranayama. Haven’t done that in a while.) And I finished with working on some meditation techniques that I’ve left alone for a long time too– that was a challenge.
While I’m talking about more formal yoga practices, though, I had a thought-provoking experience the other day. I was chatting with a coworker of mine, a woman from India, and yoga came up and she asked me what style of yoga I practiced. That stopped me in my tracks, because, first, I don’t practice regularly, and second, honestly I have no idea of the subtleties of various kinds of yoga– I just do what I’ve learned in the few classes I’ve attended and other bits and bobs I’ve picked up. And as an American I casually say "oh, yes, I do yoga sometimes" and consider it a largely physical exercise, while being ignorant of the mental practices and centuries of culture behind it.
For what it’s worth, I don’t really plan on taking up a more extensive yoga practice, nor do I want to dive into a deeper understanding of the non-physical aspects. But it’s something for me to be mindful of, especially with regard to culturally-appropriative behavior that I want to avoid.