Many people embrace yoga as a fitness tool to get into shape. It serves a much greater purpose than simply helping a person look good in a swimsuit. Practicing yoga can reshape how a person sees themselves and how they see the world around them.
The word yoga is derived from an ancient Sanskrit word yuj. Various meanings are given to this root word including to add, to join, to unite or to attach. Yoga has been practiced in India for more than 2,000 years. Indian sage Patanjali compiled 195 philosophical sayings in the “Yoga Sutra” and it serves as a guidebook for the modern practice of yoga.
Yoga consists of eight limbs. These limbs are called yama (restraint), niyama (observance), asana (posture), pranayama (breathing), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyani (meditation) and samadhi (absorption).
Yoga redefines what matters in life because it helps a person answer all of the major questions. People want to know why they are here and what their purpose is in life. Through yoga, they can find answers and cultivate important virtues in their soul.
Silence plays a huge role in yoga. A person must learn that meditation and contemplation opens a door to grasp control of their senses and lift their consciousness to a higher plane. Yoga lets them block out all of the noise that clutters their mind. They learn to let their sub-conscious mind take over. It relaxes and rejuvenates the body, releases built-up tension and stress and makes a person feel new again.
Yoga teaches unity. It begins with unifying mind, body and breath and directing everything to inward reflection. When this unity is achieved, a person can see it everywhere else. They learn how being at one with nature and the universe creates peace. They begin to understand their role in the universe and embrace it. They develop gratitude for the good things they have in life rather than lamenting the things that are missing. They cherish their deepest thoughts rather than judging or dismissing them.
A person who embraces yoga craves a simpler life. Simplicity is embraced as an ideal to seek out and to live. There is no longer a driving need to get the biggest house or the fastest car. The unhealthy need to be better than everyone else fades away.
Practicing yoga infuses the soul with love. A person who embraces the true spirit of yoga understands there is no room for negative feelings in their heart. They willingly push out anger, jealousy, sadness, frustration and other harmful emotions so that every ounce of their heart can become filled with love.
The first thing a person finds out as a yoga beginner is that their body will be tested to the limit. Long periods of meditation require a large dose of physical strength and stamina. Such endurance is earned through physical positions practised in yoga. These positions purify the body. They add strength to muscles and bones alike. Practising the third limb, asana, helps connect our mind, body and breath in one unified rhythm.
Yoga embraces the philosophy of living in the moment. When a person’s focus turns inward, they slow down and realize that true happiness is found right now – not down the road. Yoga does a good job of making you question why you do certain things and why you have chosen to travel certain paths in life. A person who embraces the yoga philosophy does not mourn the past or worry about the future. They choose to celebrate the present.
The change that yoga can bring is revolutionary. Modern society is all about results. People need to hit specific milestones to be measured as a success. They need to get a college degree, earn a high-paying job, live in a mansion, drive a fancy car and have a trophy spouse. Anything short of this standard is deemed a failure.
Attachment does not matter in yoga. Material outcomes are not relevant or important. What does matter is finding an inner peace and sense of purpose. Yoga frees the mind from the shackles of the modern world. It isn’t just about building a flexible body. It is about mastering physical and mental elements alike.
When a person can achieve this goal through yoga, spiritual growth follows. This flies in the face of conventional wisdom modern society wants to preach. But yoga possesses the true path for finding inner peace and true happiness. Nothing can take its place.
Sending you love and warmth – Om Shanti Om