There are many forms of Yoga these days, but Yoga is an ancient word. It has meaning beyond technique, style or teacher. Yoga means union. This has very simple but also very profound meaning.
As beginners we start with the basics. We make progress with practice and teaching. We uncover more and more of this meaning for ourselves. This progress is only possible through direct experience.
At its simplest level Yoga is the union of the body with the mind. When we take Sadhana(regular spiritual practice) we cultivate awareness of our body. Through even the most basic practices we encounter the body in new ways and exercise the muscle of awareness, which many of us have neglected for a long time. As we pay attention to the body from within, we strengthen our awareness and our mind pays closer attention to the experience of the body. This attention is not on the appearance of the body or the judgements of those around us. It is not an evaluation of the body’s performance but rather it is an experience of the body from within.
This is one of the fundamental ways in which Yoga is different from other forms of physical exercise. When we practice Yoga we journey inwards, to experience ourselves more authentically, and over time our body responds to become more flexible, strong and pure. Through Yoga we restore the bond that ties the mind to the body. This union brings a more harmonious existence and the kinds of experience we all long for but may have failed to grasp through other means.
This has been my experience of Yoga and now I choose to share this ancient and disciplined approach to physical, mental and spiritual practice so that more people achieve ever greater levels of happiness and joy in their lives.
Questions to think about
(feel free to comment below if you like)
Do you agree that the mind and the body are not separate?
What parts of your life are out of balance? Can anything be done about this?
How often are you “not aware”, “away with the fairies” or “distracted”? How often do you actually notice this?
Yoga creates union of body, mind, spirit. How well are these aspects working together for you?