The Meaning of Yoga

Photo by Chris Milliman for Ibex

A favorite Boston teacher of mine, Mimi Loureiro, shared the following quote in a class recently, giving me the urge to jump up from sivasana while she was reading and high-five her.  (I didn’t; that would be distracting).  It’s a great thought to hold for our yoga practices: articulate, timely, and graceful– in both language and perspective– so I thought I’d pass it along. The photo, too, is something I recently acquired, from talented photographer Chris Milliman, with whom I worked on the above shoot this summer.  He mostly shoots uber athletes (especially cyclists) and breathtaking natural scenes, with a clarity and authenticity that evokes its own zen behind the lens. As always, comments on either or both are welcome! Enjoy.

Yoga never demands the sacrifice of our reason. It only bids us: use it a thousand times more. Yoga does not require us to give up our active lives. It says simply: act, but know how to act. Yoga does not by any means wish us to push our understanding aside. It only tells us: discriminate correctly and act fearlessly. Yoga does not expect us to flee from the world and to retire into the Himalayas. It assures us: the refuge you seek, you will never find in the outside world. It is within you. Leave the stormy world of the senses behind you, raise your consciousness to the central point of your being and realize that here alone is the force, here alone is the peace and here alone the refuge you are seeking. Yoga teaches us: do not condemn the world. Deify the world with your deeds, purify the world with your utterances and ennoble the world by your presence.

-Selvarajan Yesudian

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  • Tamara

    Thank you for sharing this. Absolutely love this. I am new to yoga this year, but with time (lots of time!) I hope to one day become a yoga teacher. This quote hits home to me, and everything yoga has become to me recently. Your blog is amazing, and you are a true inspiration (photo is incredible!).

  • Marcie

    What an absolutely beautiful and inspirational quote! It speaks to everything and all of yoga. Thank-you for this….

  • Kristen

    I love this quote. Yoga is a special practice indeed. It balances us in many ways. This quote is a good reminder of what yoga means and is. Thanks for sharing

  • Jenny

    This is beautiful! Thank You!

  • natasha mckenzie-Martin

    Hello, This blog is a lovely discovery! Thank you ( and Mimi) so much for this touching and inspiring quote.


  • Knut Holt

    Still, this sounds as some kind of a creepy puritan propaganda. But yoga works physically, mentually – and spiritually. But personally i prefere a intelligent hedomism before puritanism.