Yoga has stood the test of time as an approach that creates transformation. It has much to say about the mind and its fluctuations. For thousands of years, the yogis probed the mysteries of the mind and consciousness. I believe what they found has great applicability to our own search and understanding of self.
Yoga is a technology and a science really for dealing with the fluctuations of the mind. We think of it as a physical practice, but in all reality, it is a mental practice.
There is nothing inherently wrong with any of us. We are not broken. Our soul is full and our perfection is inherent. Happiness is our birthright. I think we all intuitively know that we are capable of more positivity than we experience, or that there is an inner treasure of happiness and vitality within, we just don’t know how to access it.
But we forget this. We get veiled. We forget our worthiness. Our energy gets stuck.
The vedic sages saw health and happiness as all about the flow of life-energy throughout your physiology. They called it PRANA. When life energy is depleted or blocked, physiological problems ensue like depression or disease. This is because energy supports all functioning.
When we get blockages in our physiology, we become ill. Basically, anything that gunks up our seamless energetic system and blocks the free flow of life energy causes an imbalance. The culprits are many: chronic stress, poor diet, physiological aging (as we age, more difficult to ward off the negative effects of stress), negative people, toxic environments.
So these two ideas – that we are already whole and that it is the blockage of energy in our system that leads to compromised health – is where yoga veers from Western thought. In graduate study, we are taught to diagnose and figure out what is “wrong” with someone. In therapy, we look for insight, which then leads to change. But if the body is energetically imbalanced, it is like putting the cart before the horse.
Improvements in the overall health of the person must take place if change in perception and alterations in feelings are to become permanent. Yoga helps to restructure and heal the body, mind, and spirit with practical techniques so that insight can be put into action.
How does yoga heal? I’ve summed up what I believe to be the 10 potent pieces.
- The body slows down and releases tension, and the mind follows the body.
- Self-love and respect for the body emerge.
- The “Euphoria of the Present Moment.” Being grounded in the present moment allows deeper connection to intuition.
- Self-awareness develops. Not only is there greater awareness of the body and its messages, but also a deeper felt sense of self.
- The art of non-judgment begins to develop and deepen.
- Inner reserves are built that provide support during challenging times.
- Lost parts of the self begin to be reclaimed.
- One’s “Inherent Wholeness” is remembered.
- Detoxification, letting go, and releasing old patterns creates space in the body for the possibility of something new.
- New neural pathways are established.