The word Yoga originally comes from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which means to join together. This idea of joining forces together can be understood further when one understands that yoga is the practice of becoming one with your body and mind, as well as your environment. To understand Yoga in its entirety is to understand that everything is energy. Once we understand this, our chakra systems then are also key to focus on as they can also be explored through yoga.
“Yoga provides us with an opportunity to get to know ourselves from the inside out—and this knowingness is not based on our positions, possessions, or accomplishments.” – Tris Thorp
There are those who practice yoga but only do so for the physical benefits, not realising that the good feelings they experience are realigning them with their true self, which is calm, still and full of loving energy. Yoga is the physical practice of spirituality, it is a very important form of exercise since it practises energy flowing throughout the body and mind. Yoga is in fact a very ancient art in which a person can harmonize and develop their connection to the body, mind and spirit. This ancient wisdom to be found within the teachings of yoga through books as well as physical practice.
“Underneath the appearance we find the energy force which creates the illusion of solid matter, a type of force that holds the parts of the atom together… in yoga this force creates the first element, earth, and moves through the Muladhara chakra.” – Chakra Yoga.
The real question that needs to be understood with yoga is what are we really uniting with? Your body is finely tuned to be susceptible to the many different types of energy you feed it, whether it be food, exercise or your emotions, they all effect your body in some way. Therefore, it is about getting back to a clearer state of mind in which you can find the answers as to what your mind, body and spirit really need. This is what we are truly uniting with, our Self, and how everything we think and do is connected to the environments around us.
All the mind chatter created throughout our daily lives can leave us feeling drained and in some cases depressed since we hold on to so many fears, expectations and judgements. That is why yoga and meditation are so important because they not only clear out some of our negative thinking, but when the mind is still our higher self is able to guide us towards more positive thoughts and actions. Know thyself and you will know all there is to know.
There are so many benefits to practicing yoga as we have already understood, here are just a few more:
- Creates flexibility in the physical body
- Tones the muscles and strengthens the bones
- Increases circulation of blood and bodily fluids
- Improves the function of the endocrine glands
- Rejuvenates the cellular body, glands and organs
- Rejuvenates and balances the central nervous system
- May cure disease in the body
- Calms the heart rate
- Releases prana into body
- Activates the chakra centers; stimulates the nerve groups
- Increases brain activity
- Helps to clear the nadi channels & meridian pathways in the body
- Good for relaxation ; calms the mind
- Kundalini awakening
- Prepares the body for meditation and union with the Divine
There are many different types of yoga that can be practiced. For instance, “Jnana Yoga has to do with achieving wisdom through the path of self-analysis. It leads us to understand the emotional aspect of our being and its ruling effect on our mind.” You can read more about it the fascinating Chakra Yoga book here.
If you want to begin exploring yoga but do not know where to start, there are a plethora of videos on Youtube that teach you all you need to know (at least for the physical side) A particular favorite of mine is Yoga with Adriene, here you can find a beginners video to yoga:
The best time to practise yoga is early in the morning since this is when your body has the most energy. If you are not able to find time for yoga or meditation in the morning and instead choose to do so in the evening, your body may be feeling more tired, especially after a full days work so the process may not be as powerful.
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By Kim Stanworth