Most new yogis quickly realize there is much more to yoga than simply attending yoga class once in a while - it can become a lifestyle that blends into other aspects of your life. Some may practice yoga as a body movement, but for others, especially serious devotees, physical yoga is just one component of philosophy of the three yoga bodies.
The Three Bodies
In yoga, the body is an instrument by which you gain a deeper understanding of the world around you.
The Physical Body
In Sanskrit, this is also called the Annamaya kosha, which means "food sheath". For someone to take proper care of the physical body is not to glorify it, but to bring the body under control of the mind and maximize wellness. This is the part of yoga philosophy of which most people are familiar.
The Astral Body
Three sheaths compose the astral body. The pranic sheath is where people experience sensation; the mental sheath houses emotions; and the intellectual sheath guides the automatic mind, and is how people make decisions. When you practice meditation, you are maintaining this.
The Casual Body
This is best described as the history, or seed, of self. The Sanskrit name is karana sharira. This is a combination of the physical and astral bodies.
The Total Yoga Path
How we eat, ways in which we conduct ourselves, positive thinking, meditation, and proper relaxation, as well as the numerous physical expressions of yoga, or asanas, are all important elements that make up a total yogic path.
Yoga Influence in Life
When yoga becomes a lifestyle, it permeates most aspects of your life. The music you listen to, the jewelry you wear, the food you eat, and the magazines you read can all be influenced by your yoga practice. While practices like Pilates and tai chi can become a passionate hobby, it's practicing yoga that can alter how you live nearly every facet of your life.
Yoga Lifestyle in the Public Eye
While yoga culture boasts its own prominent figures, mainstream celebrities become advocates for a yoga lifestyle. Alternative medicine facilities often offer yoga as a form of treatment and, overall, culture at large considers yoga to be a sexy form of exercise.
A Peaceful Life
Avid yogis seem to have a peaceful regard for life, even outside the confines of peaceful yoga retreats. While the right retreat can change your life, allowing yoga to touch all aspects of your life will help you live in a more relaxed state.