Yoga – A lesson of Discipline
Yoga means ‘union’ or ‘discipline’ or ‘integration’. Unsurprisingly then, then system of Yoga is considered an integrating discipline. There are many aspects to Yoga which seek to bring unity into your life.
First, Yoga seeks to unite mind and body. Very often, people in the modern world separate these.
Some people describe a feeling of being out of touch with their body. This break between our mind and body causes us to feel overwhelmed by daily life and that we are about to collapse under the pressures.
Some may be a little milder, but this disconnection between mind and body is all too common in our busy modern world. In fact, most of us are just busy being busy, without realising what we need to do next.
Tiredness is of the mind, not the body,” a colleague once told me. That’s quite true – even without physical exertion, we could get tired just by thinking!
Negative thoughts are heavy, compulsive and pervasive, leading to weak memory, poor decision-making skills, and lack of enthusiasm. Our vital energy (prana) gets trapped in our conflicting belief and emotional patterns, and the more the prana gets stuck, the less we have at our disposal. How can yoga help release the stuck energy and overcome this kind of exhaustion? Such negative thoughts/emotional patterns could precipitate illnesses in due course, if not dealt with appropriately.
Through yoga we can reconnect emotions in the body, the mind and the body. This reconnection enables you to feel your life more fully, cope with its stresses more effectively and enjoy life in all its diversity and beauty.
Yoga Magazines also seeks to mend the split between our emotions and our rational mind. Similar to the disconnect we sometimes feel between our mind and body, so much of our time is dedicated to keep our emotions ‘under control’ that we end up rationalising our feelings away. If done chronically, this can lead to serious health problems. When emotions, especially anger or frustration, are not given a place to to release and be expressed, they can build up internally and our bodies, in the form of stress related illness, try to find another way to release the emotion. Yoga, by increasing your awareness of your emotions and body, can provide a way in which to release emotions before they become destructive.
Yoga is a powerful way to fully integrate your psychological and physical self. It increases your awareness of the fact that you are part of a larger whole, not an isolated individual. The moral philosophy underpinning Yoga is all embracing and encourages each person to connect with everything and everyone around you. Being connected to all parts of yourself and your world is the foundation for personal growth and general wellbeing. It’s no wonder Yoga has existed for centuries and has become a central part of many people’s lives.
Let us learn to observe our mind apart from our body. This will help us take control of it. As your mind begins to chant, “I am so… tired/exhausted/burnt out”, take notice. Without trying to verbalise the sensations, can you observe what is happening in the body? Spend a couple of minutes on this.
Observe your breath: Is the inhalation short? How deep is the exhalation? Are you holding the breath a lot? Where are you feeling the breath in the body? Allow this tiredness to take over completely. Mentally tell yourself, “It is okay, I fully allow myself to feel this exhaustion”. If you are sitting, place your palms and feet down so that you can completely ground yourself and transfer this heaviness to the earth. If you are lying down, surrender your weight to the earth completely, letting go…
Is the mind still busy? See each thought like a wave in the ocean of the body and allow that wave to sink into and merge with the bottom of the ocean. Exhale deeply and completely, releasing all thoughts and sensations. Hold your breath a few seconds after each exhalation. Observe the stillness – feel the complete, total surrender to the moment. Now focus on the inhalation, breathing into the abdomen (allowing the upper abdomen to expand) and continue to exhale slowly and completely. With each inhalation, you are inviting fresh prana to enter and fill the body. You may also hold your breath for a few seconds after inhalation to consolidate your energy resource.
Is this physical fitness or meditation? Indeed, it is all of this. Yoga is actual integration of the body, mind and yes, spirit too. This is the true purpose of yoga, to make ourselves completely well in all our zones.
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