“Yoga of the Inward Path”, is the title of one of Ronald Beesley’s books. In this book he explains all different kinds of yoga, but all lead inward.
Yoga versus gymnastics – calmness, silence, transforming blockades
Yoga is different from gymnastics, though both are exercises for the body. Gymnastics are activities that force the muscles, in a high tempo, going outward the self, overheating oneself, and yoga is focused on relaxation, slowing down, and going inward, cooling down. Silence belongs to yoga. Noise belongs to gymnastics. Yoga is natural, and meditative, gymnastics are not natural, and not meditative. Gymnastics can be used to get rid of an overload of energy, in cases one has an overload. Gymnastics can create blockades, because of forcing. Gymnastics cannot break through blockades, and make them even worse. Yoga opens blockades, and transforms them.
Both are excellent though, and can be combined: with yoga as the cooling down phase of the training program.
Yoga versus gymnastics – groups, alone, not forcing, limits, meditative
Yoga can be exercised alone, or in groups. Even in groups the energy is calm. Practicing yoga can be easy, but also incredible difficult, and very, very heavy. The activity is always realized in a deep relaxation, and force is absolutely forbidden. The stretch created in a yoga exercise does not have bad after effects, because it does not go over the limits of what one is able to, nobody asks that, and is therefore very healthy for all layers.
Yoga versus gymnastics – philosophies, building up without forcing
Yoga has several different approaches, with each of them an own philosophy. Yoga can be a mental exercise, but also a physical activity, or both. It is not needed to read about yoga to be able to practice yoga in a physical way. Gymnastic do not have a philosophy, unless one considers “scoring” and “winning” as a philosophy.
One can also create self created exercises, on a yoga mat at home, doing the movements that come intuitively in the awareness, following up what feels excellent to do, in calmness, taking time, to do, by activating the muscles in self created movements, body positions , and not to do, by deactivating the muscles, both with the full awareness.
Yoga versus gymnastics: breathing deep, calm, and with awareness
The most explicit difference between yoga and gymnastics is the breath. Yoga is the way to breathe with awareness, calm, in the own natural way. Gymnastics create a breathing that is much more high, not using the deep going belly breathing as yoga asks to do. The breathing in gymnastics is more to the surface and more frequent in and out.