So explain this yogurt thing to me.

Tree pose-Vrikshasana - Ricardo das NevesFirst, that joke’s been around forever. Now, about yoga: you might think it’s a bunch of body positions to stretch you, unkink your back, and release your aches. It is that, but poses are like fingernails in the body of yoga: you’re just scratching the surface with them. (While you’re scratching, can you reach right between my shoulderblades… No, go a little lower. That’s it. Scratch there. Thank you.)

The body of yoga is large indeed. This elbow over here is Karma yoga, the yoga of service. This left pectoral muscle is Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion. And this butt cheek here is Jñana Yoga, the yoga of knowledge. So you see that poses are just the fingerrnails in the hand of Hatha Yoga (physical yoga), which is attached to the arm of Raja Yoga, which, sit still, kid, we’ll eventually get to.

cat pose-Marjaryasana - Ricardo das NevesAll right, so what’s the point of all these yogas I’ve never heard of?

To go in the opposite direction of alcohol.

Huh?

Yep. Alcohol takes away some of your abilities and finer perceptions (not to mention a sense of civility). Yoga is the un-alcohol. It refines your abilities to perceive, to emote, and yes, to be aware of your body so you don’t just slump in your chair there all day and then wonder why your low back is talking to you. You try a little yoga (well, you, particularly, may need a lot of yoga), and soon you’ve managed to shut up the little person inside your head that yaks-yaks-yaks away all day long. In the ensuing silence a new, more whole, more intelligent you emerges, intuits, and transforms because you’re now paying attention.

camel pose-ustrasana - Ricardo das NevesPaying attention to what?

To you, of course. To your experience. And when you do that, not only are you not reacting unconsciously, but you actually begin to change the reactivity.

You’re pulling my leg, right?

Ah, now you’re talking about asana, the first aspect of yoga!