The First Time I Learned About Yoga

I first learned the word “yoga” in 1996 in a college class where we studied the Rig Veda, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita. I was fortunate to have a great professor skilled in historical and philosophical perspectives. From that time forward, I have always known that yoga is the invitation to live fully — a calling that arises in the present to invest in a lifelong process. This was the “yoga” that resonated so strongly with me and changed the course of my life.

Shortly after college, I traveled briefly to India, curious about the origins of yoga and meditation. Six years later, I accidentally attended a yoga asana class — in a studio and on a mat — where I experienced the link between physical and philosophical yoga more deeply. I immediately loved the experience. It was a call to an expanded awareness and a dynamic interplay of breath and body — of heart, mind, muscles, organs, bones. To me, it felt like coming home. I’ve enjoyed the physical aspect of the practice ever since. I’ve always understood it to be part of the complex meaning of “yoga.”

Years later, I came across J. A. B. van Buitenen, and his introduction to his own Bhagavad Gita translation. He captured precisely how yoga evolved in my experience:

It is not the case that yoga has so many different “meanings,” but that the central meaning is a complex one that in English is not exhausted by one equivalent. Yoga is always of somebody, in something, with something, for some purpose…and implies: 1) the process of a difficult effort; 2) a person committed to it; 3) the instrument she/he uses; 4) the courses of action chosen; 5) the prospect of a goal.

In 2007, I was thinking about these inspirations, about what I wanted to do next and about dimensions of myself that were not being sufficiently exercised. I wanted to do something I felt thoroughly passionate about; I wanted to commit to something larger than myself. In the following year, I self-funded YogaGlo and started the company with my brother, Ryan. We launched in November 2008 with three classes and a clear purpose:

YogaGlo is everyone’s yoga. Regardless of religion, culture, age, or political views, something we all share in common is the human condition. Yoga is the lifelong process of investing in the quality of our condition. YogaGlo’s intention is to empower people around the world to engage in this process.

While I felt I had captured the spirit of our endeavor in these words, I was never entirely satisfied with them. I wanted us to have a lucid vision, a purposeful mission, and clear statements that expressed our purpose and aspiration. And I wanted those words to capture more effectively the “meaning of yoga” with deeper sensibilities, to state clearly our company’s reason for being, to serve as a north star for our future direction. I’m proud of our team’s accomplishment with our newest articulation:

YogaGlo is yoga for everyone. It is an invitation to explore our bodies, minds, and hearts. We invest in you and your commitment to self-care.
We believe that yoga is a lifelong process. That process begins as soon as we recognize that we all share the same human condition.
Our intention is to empower people from all around the world to practice and expand the meaning of yoga. We’re committed to practices that invite our deepest self-exploration and investment in our shared humanity. We offer thousands of professionally-filmed online yoga, meditation, and lecture classes taught by yoga teachers and professors in an effort to touch lives in a meaningful way.

On the last day of that class back in 1996, our professor began by asking each of us: “What do you want? What do you want for yourself for your life?” He encapsulated my entire life’s quest and the answer I gave was simple enough: “I want to sustain and expand my capacities for wonder.”

Being in wonder of the world and our human place in it has led me to yoga and, ultimately, to creating YogaGlo. Nothing worth doing is easy. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve stumbled. But I’ve welcomed the struggle and continue to strive and seek to thrive. I’m in awe of the beauty of our shared humanity and the possibilities of our collective efforts. Being a part of our company’s growth continues to be a labor of love. I’m so grateful for YogaGlo; I’m grateful for our team and how our team helps to make the world a better place.

Every day we receive inspiring stories from our members around the world. Our members’ passion and devotion drive us to improve our offerings. You are a part of everything we do, and our commitment is to create choices for your yoga. We’ve built YogaGlo so that we can enjoy and evolve all that yoga has to offer together.

Let’s practice yoga together.

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