Confession: I do not know what yoga is.
I was asked recently "what" yoga is. I found that I couldn't effectively answer. Me, someone who has been practicing asana for fourteen years and owns a yoga studio could not answer. My ego was not a happy camper.
Yes, I know yoga practices. And, yes, I can regurgitate yoga philosophy and academically discuss yoga's tenets. Still, when I'm *really* honest, I have yet to experience my Self as divine or in a state of yoga. Far too impulsive, I normally experience myself as craving cookies.
But, it is through yoga, I've come to realize that these experiences of myself are entirely okay! As much as it is an end, yoga is a means for self-understanding, empowerment and self-compassion. This is what we all can aim for when we unroll ourselves to practice yoga. In fact, I would argue that not knowing yoga is precisely part of the practice!
Before I lose you, consider this: yoga is more than posture; it is more than mediation, self-study and mala beads; yoga is a holistic experience of ourselves as Self. Patanjali talks about how yoga is a state where our mind is both connected and still enough that our vrittis (fluctuations) no longer move us from our core experience of ourselves as Self.
I don't know about you, but Patanjali's experience of yoga is only one I can imagine. Maybe one day I'll experience it myself, but for now I practice. I practice loving my little cookie self and moving her with kindness, intention, and connection. I practice to find and be more of me. Practice is my yoga.