In this day and age, there is so much focus on the anatomical postures of yoga in social media sites. What affected me profoundly during my teacher training at Rishikesh, India (the birthplace of yoga) early last year though, was how almost 99 percent of yoga was a philosophical understanding of a way of life. No, yoga isn’t solely or even mostly about acrobatic prowess. It is a “work in” more than a work-out.
Yoga offers us a path to find joy under all circumstances. It helps us to remove pain in our lives that are often caused by our dependence on outside objects. It allows us to center our bodies, minds and spirit. Through this, it yoga acts as a tool that we can use to deal with the temporality of our world. It enables us to perfectly integrate nature and society and see the beauty and significance of what seems imperfect in our lives. Yoga allows us to grow with the wisdom that we are the true masters of our lives despite the changing circumstances. It shows us how to be gentle, yet strong, like rivers, which has the power to sculpt the hardest of rocks. Both the practice and wisdom of yoga provides us with the know- how of how to use our physical strength, emotions and cognitive ability to overall benefit. Yoga is a way of life and an art of living that enables us to sieve out truth from illusions. It transcends religion and enhances everything else that we do in life.
As humans, we are in constant search for happiness. It will do us great good to consciously choose experiences that gives us energy. Existence has given us 6 important tools to enjoy life experiences. This includes the body (including all bodily senses), breath, mind, intellect, ego and citta (awareness) Our breath is powerful as it has the ability to connect our mind, intellect, ego and awareness/citta to our bodies. While our mind is a wild force that runs everywhere, our intellect guides us towards making decisions. Our ego places the self in the centre of everything and prescribes specific qualities to our identities. It is crucial that we realize that much of what the ego prescribes as innate qualities are actually social constructs. The practice and wisdom of yoga helps us to dissolve this idea of a separate self by celebrating our union with the universal energy field. A fundamental purpose of yoga is develop pure awareness and the ability to sieve out reality from illusions. Constant and genuine self-study is needed to cultivate an awareness of how to discern what are our true needs (physical/spiritual/social/emotional) so that we can fulfill them correctly. Different types of yoga help to bring us closer to self-realization. One of the most traditional forms of yoga, Hatha yoga helps us to unite our body, mind and soul with the universe with its emphasis on awareness, stability and balance. Raja yoga enhances self-mastery by teaching us how to still our minds so that we recognize our true divine power.
There is so much more I learned about this ancient art form, but I will save that for another day. Have a beautiful day ahead! 🙂