Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat.BKS Iyengar
To create awareness of the benefits of yoga practice.
Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is ultimately a journey into truth + relationship: truth about who you really are, what you are capable of, how your actions affect your life. Truth is the only medicine that ever “cures” us; it is the only means by which we can live at our full, incredible potential. At the most basic level, so many of us are not living life at 100 percent. But if you are not living in truth, you are cheating yourself. If you are living in a body that is weighed down and unhealthy, you are robbing yourself of your vitality. If you are plagued by anxiety and worry, you are denying yourself the peace that is so readily available to you. If you are controlled by your fears and emotions, you have sacrificed your personal power.
Yes, yoga can be an amazing form of fitness that sculpts strong, healthy bodies. The results are dramatic because it is a whole body system, using fully body movements that encourage the body to move as nature intended Because every single muscle is used in strength and balance, it ignites the metabolic furnace. It tones and chisels through isometrics and isotonics. You lose weight because active muscle tissue burns fat – the stronger your muscles are, the stronger your metabolic fire burns – and also because you won’t have the same need to feed your fears and soothe your anxious edges by overeating.
Within the first few practice sessions, your belly can get flatter, your buttocks tighter, your arms will get toned and strong, and you will tingle and sparkle from your temples to your toes. You will feel strong and calm, more energized and alive. You will begin to see your body taking on shape and level of agility you have never experienced before. You will stand taller and look sleeker, straighter, and leaner. In time, you will awaken in a whole new body. (Baron Baptise – Journey Into Power, pg 19 – speaking of Power Vinyasa Yoga)
But the physical changes are only a by-product of a more empowering purpose. The physical magic just kid of happens as you go through the practice. The real miracle is what starts happening underneath, within you.
We soak up life like a sponge, holding tensions, fears, and anxieties in our system. In yoga practice you reach down into all the nooks and crannies and hidden pockets of tissue, excavating all this clogging, unwanted stuff. Through the challenges on your mat, you step up to your edge and pull up whatever is inside you that needs to be healed and released. You also discover how strong you really are, physically and mentally. Almost as if by magic, lifelong fears dissipate, blocked emotions are released, your mind get quiet and gains startling clarity, psychic wounds from deep down surface to be healed. You experience mental shifts that free you from old thought patterns. You begin to understand on a deep level what is right for you and what to do. You just get it. These insights and revelations crystallize as something permanent and real within you.
At the same time, because it strips away all the excess debris, yoga brings you back to your sweetness, your innocence. It reminds you of your love of discovery. Children have natural yoga bodies because they haven’t piled on the layers of toxic living, reactiveness, resentments, guilt and anxiety that adults have. They have no blocks yet to stand in their way, and instinctively live from the center of their beings. As children we were complete within ourselves, but over the years we have come to live unnaturally. Yoga is a remarkably effective “unlearning process.” We have to unlearn our negative thought systems, our emotional patterns, our patterns of moving, breathing and eating so that we can come back to our own naturalness.
On a deeper level, you awaken to cause and effect. You begin to have a meaningful understanding that every action you take generates a result. You see that what you put out there dictates what you get in return. If you are not putting out abundance, it’s no wonder abundance is not pouring into your life! You start to connect the dots and recognize how the smallest daily actions have a domino effect. It hits you how your overreactions to stress cause your negative eating habits, and how they in turn affect your body and energy levels. You start seeing clearly the things you are doing to limit or hurt yourself, and the ways you can grow. You see how launching into reactivity, anger, fear or jealousy fuels vicious cycles in your relationships, and where your responsibility lies. You really start to get it that your life circumstances are the sum total of decisions you made along the way, and that the only person who can ultimately transform your life is you, by operating from a deeper level of cause rather than trying to struggle with the surface effects.
We all have the choice in life. In yoga practice we learn that the first step toward everything worthwhile is consciously responding from our underlying foundations of truth in each moment. When you awaken to this, you begin to live more consciously and at cause in other areas of your life: your diet, your health, your relationships, your career, your money. Your bad habits and negative patterns will dissolve like snow in the summer sun.
Ultimately, yoga ignites your spirit. When you are free from the constraints of a weak body and the limitations of emotional reactivness, you live in a higher place. You begin to dwell in spirit, and from there, all that remains that is not authentically you falls away. You carry an inner oasis of calm and composure, even in the midst of the chaos of daily living. People around you will notice the changes and say you are so lucky, but you will know that luck had nothing to do with it.
So, let’s learn the benefits of yoga
- Lie in shavasana, feet about 12 inches apart, arms at your sides, palms up. Rock your head side-to-side until you find the flat part of your skull, and rest your head there.
- Feel your abdomen rise and fall with each breath. Imagine your lungs as a pair of balloons – filling up as you inhale and emptying out as you exhale. As they fill, they become longer and rounder – they grow in all directions. You begin to feel the air going into your back, into the chest, sideways down the waist, every breath elongating the spine.
- Yoga is a practical philosophy involving every aspect of our being. It teaches us both self-discipline and self-awareness.
- At the physical level, it gives us a relief from illness. The postures strengthen and stretch the body and create a feeling of well-being.
- Yoga sharpens the intellect and helps concentration.
- Our breathing practices calm the mind.
- Spiritually, yoga introduces us to inner awareness and gives us the gift of being still.
- The whole path of yoga is a journey of attaining inner peace. Let’s begin the journey.
Notice the subtle changes happening in your life. Do you sleep better after your yoga practice? Are you more aware of your breath and how it may relate to your emotions?
- See what every posture has to teach you.
- Listen to the sound of your breath, feel it in every cell, imagine that the breath is stretching you.
- Next time you’re in a tense situation, consciously relax your shoulders and establish your diaphragmatic breath. Notice the positive effects of actively working stress out of your body.
- Every emotion puts its imprint on our physical body.
about the lesson learned series
Our blog series entitled Lesson Learned is designed from a teachers perspective. We see so much, feel so much and have learned so much. This is our sharing ground from the front of the room.
If you would like to read more from this series, please click here: http://yogasamatva.com/?s=lesson+learned
The light and love in me bows to the light and love in you.
Om. Shanti. Shanti. Shanti.
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It got me when you said that yoga can help you to learn breathing practices that can help to calm your mind and attain inner peace. With that in mind, I’ll be sure to find a yoga class that I can attend. Since last month, I have been experiencing sleepless nights due to stress. My husband and I are in the process of divorce, and I want to find a way to get things out of my mind for a while.
It sure was nice to know that yoga can help you to feel calm and energized after a few yoga practice sessions. As you said, yoga can teach you breathing practices that can help to calm your mind. With that in mind, I’ll be sure to consider attending yoga classes soon. Since last year, I have been suffering from sleepless nights due to stress and overthinking. My job and personal problems have been impeding me from having a good night sleep. What I want is to forget all my problems with the help of meditation. Thanks for sharing this.