I once said to a student “Pilates is great, but it’s not Yoga.”
I was wrong.
Pilates is Yoga. And so is washing the dishes and taking out the rubbish. And sitting in a yoga class with your legs wrapped around your ears.
It’s all Yoga, with a capital “Y”.
But only if your mind is still.
Patanjali, the Indian sage who wrote the Yoga Sutras (sacred scriptures) nearly two thousand years ago, tells us in his second sutra that Yoga is “the cessation of mind.”
Mind activity consists of thought and is a “doing” like reading and running and eating.
Yoga, on the other hand, is a “being”. No one can “do” Yoga. One can only be “in” Yoga. And only when the mind is quiet.
Patanjali says that you’re a yogi as soon as your mind ceases activity. Even if you’ve never set foot in a yoga class. Even if you’re doing Pilates.
Of course, the thinking mind can’t grasp this at all. But it doesn’t have to.
How amusing it is to consider that someone who’s never been to a yoga class could be a true yogi and someone who’s not missed a class in fifty years has never been in Yoga.
Maybe I’ve done myself out of a job.