Yoga means union. It is the union of the mind, body, and spirit. When one thinks of Yoga they may visualize people stretching or performing physical postures. While this is part of it, Yoga is much more broad and is generally practiced while adhering to strict lifestyle principles and includes breathing practices, physical postures, and meditation. Actually, Yoga is a step by step process and if followed accurately will lead to liberation, known as Samadhi.
How does Yoga Work?
In his Yoga Sutras Patanjali states in the second verse, “Yogasa chitta vritti nirodha.” Patanjali is describing how Yoga works by saying that yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind. Yoga teaches us to observe our thoughts and feelings with introspection, and leads to greater awareness of the self. Through the breathing exercises and posture exercises we have an outlet for the energies that accompany our thoughts and emotions. If our practice is regular and dedicated, eventually the mind will find tranquility, stability, and harmony. By fine tuning the mind and body through Yoga, one achieves an everlasting state of gratitude and respect for the sacredness of life.
The more self realized one becomes through Yoga, they realize the effect they have on people and the world, and understand their role more clearly. This leads to a deeper sense of purpose and fills the mind and body with confidence.
Is Yoga Safe?
Yoga is very safe. When we practice in the right attitude we get the most out of Yoga without harming our bodies. It is true that injuries have occurred to people while they were practicing Yoga. This is because they were over attached to looking a certain way or achieving a “perfect” posture while their mind and body was not yet ready for that level of practice. With a respect and detachment from the results, we learn to love our bodies and treat them with compassion.
A great teacher knows his pupil and takes the pupil through a challenging class, but does not direct the pupil to do anything that will cause injury. In fact, asana practice is not recommended until a substantial amount of breathing awareness exercises have been accomplished. However, there are some very safe and simple, yet very effective postures one could begin practicing immediately, while not incurring any harm to the body.
Does Yoga treat certain conditions?
Yoga treats a variety of physical conditions and also supports healthy mental functions. As we said before, Yoga is the calming of the mind. Yoga will help people with a variety of psychiatric disorders cope with the symptoms they encounter. Aiding in the relaxation of the body with breathing exercises and stretches, Yoga leads to easiness of the mind.
Improving the circulation of the blood, the body will immediately begin to feel enlivened and endorphins are released therefore enhancing the happiness of practitioners. What conditions, specifically, does Yoga address? The answer is any and all ailments. Yoga is the healing of the mind, body, and soul, it is for everybody, and one will observe immediate positive effects happening in their life if they begin to practice Yoga.
What is Yoga Practice Like?
Imagine a dirty towel being rinsed and wrung out. Yoga is the rinsing and wringing of the mind and body. By calming the mind we become centered and focused through breathing exercises, and by stretching muscles tightness of the body is alleviated. This powerful combination aids in eliminating toxins that have negative effects on the normal function of the brain and body.
After Yoga practice pupils experience a heightened state of awareness, clarity, and a pleasant sensation described as blissfulness. When one has had a small taste of the cleansing effect of Yoga, it is only natural to crave more. The more Yoga that we do the more bliss we will feel.