Yoga is liberation. The phrase has come into more mainstream use as we look to ourselves, our practices, and how to embrace diversity and bring it into our practices. Yoga speaks of liberation as moksha, a sanskrit word which means freedom.

One whose happiness is within, who is active and rejoices within, and whose aim is inward is actually the perfect mystic. He is liberated…

The Bhagavad Gita

Traditionally, especially here in the west, we think of freedom as being free FROM something. Rules? Regulations? Restraints? Being free from something is a noble goal. Justice is built on the cornerstone of freedom. But when we step on the mat it’s just our bodies and our plan for the flow.

When it’s just me on the mat, the most important thing I want to be free from is self-judgment. Ignore the thoughts going through my mind, the worries, and just enjoy the ability to gently move and stretch my body. It’s also so much more than that.

As the quote from the Bhagavad Gita says, one whose happiness comes from within, whose aim is inward, is liberated. When we step onto the mat, we need to stop thinking what others think of us.

Liberation to me, is not just freedom for me to express my own thoughts, to be at home in my body. No labels. No judgement. And, being able to give that to others.

Because yoga’s liberation isn’t just about ourselves, it’s also something to give others.