“We are Spirit in manifest; energy condensed into the body vessel. Yoga is the pathway to purifying our vessels so we may truly live in the endless ocean of life.”
The word Yoga itself means "union.” It is a system seemingly deriving from India and the Himalayas more than 2500 years ago, that aims to unify the multi-dimensional nature of the human being with the Universal Consciousness or Spirit.
The asanas, or postures, that have gained widespread popularity in recent decades are only one aspect of this profound practice, or way of life to unfolding the infinite nature. It is said in the Bible: "Be still and know that I am God." In these few words lies the key to the science of Yoga. This ancient spiritual science offers a direct means of stilling the natural turbulence of thoughts, emotions and restlessness of body that prevent us from knowing what and who we really are; our true (Buddha) nature.
Why all the fuss about mind? Suffering exists when we look outside of ourselves for fulfilment. We are living in a world that conditions us to believe that outer attainments can give us what we want. We are caught up in doing rather than being, in action rather than awareness. By the practice of Yoga we can cultivate presence. There is a beautiful and simple saying - "Wherever the mind goes is where energy flows." Ordinarily our awareness and energies are directed outward, to the things of this world. Yoga is a simple process of reversing the ordinary outward flow of energy and consciousness so that the mind and life-force (prana) is directed inwardly to purify, regenerate and transform our limited awareness into actually experiencing peace and truth. Within the mind is always movement and beyond the mind there is always feeling. We are like the infinite ocean with endless waves of constant thought and emotion. If our mind is restless and agitated, the waves (the thoughts and emotions) become unsettled, rough and wild, yet if our mind is at peace each wave becomes more like the ocean of peace.
Hatha Yoga, the system of physical postures, or asanas, whose higher purpose is to purify the body are the keys that can unlock the doors to this inner peace and the awakened self. Like any discipline it can take time and effort to develop the strength and flexibility required for advanced postures but if you try to only perfect the pose you will miss the magic. Attention must be drawn deeper to the inner self and the in-breath will take you there. I like to view my practice of Yoga as a moving meditation, a sensory journey towards discovering peace within the ebb and flow of life. Even within the stillness of the body and the spaces between thought there is always constant flow, because the nature of energy is infinite. When we practice moving in flow, we cultivate prana, which can then clear stagnation and blockages in the body, and create more balance. As we learn to become at one with flow of breath and body, life and prana flows from within us, not just around us. When we access this creative intelligence from within, life becomes and awakened experience of being, not doing.
Why practice Yoga? How does living with less stress, more peace and happiness sound? Yoga gifts us tools to become our own healers and directors of our life. Not to say that life’s challenges completely disappear but the more we practice Yoga authentically, the more we become equipped to meeting life’s demands from a place of peace. The practice of Yoga creates a foundational structure from which we can stand upon our own altar of strength, wisdom, truth and love. Above and beyond Yoga makes us feel good! And as the law of karma states what we feel, think, do and radiate is what naturally comes back to us.
A class should involve both spiritual and physical principles of Yoga, aim to increase strength, flexibility, and balance of the inner and outer selves, breathing, movement and relaxation. If you are new to Yoga our wonderful world wide web can assist in finding a class near you. Make the call to local studios to find which class will suit your needs. Then turn up! This may sound obvious, but even if you are not feeling up to it, turn up. The space in a class should always feel welcoming, and the Yoga teacher should allow you to go at your own pace. This is the foundation of practicing Yoga - listening, being present, accepting and respecting the body’s needs regardless of what the other students or teacher is doing.
Ways to practice Yoga in everyday life:
We are the nature of nature, therefore nature is our primary healer. By engaging in nature and the sensory environment we can attune to our own inner nature. We cannot truly think and feel in the same moment, so whatever allows us to feel is the doorway to becoming present. Take moments to be aware of the breath. The breath regulates our inner life force and all systems of the body, especially the nervous system. This is why Yogis believe the breath and breath control (pranayama) to be the most important over all other senses and physical processes of Yoga. Correct breathing is the link that binds our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
The breath is the direct link to our spiritual and physical energies in union. This is what is meant by living in the heart. When we live from the heart, in a state of feeling as opposed to thinking, we are more aligned with our intuition and truths.
Yoga is a way of life. By working from within, Yoga helps peel away the layers of resistance that prevent us from living life fully awake, present, balanced and in harmony. To live in union with ourselves, others and the Divine Universe is to live in the ultimate state of bliss.
Namaste and divine shanti (peace) blessings.
With a background in the arts, fashion and design, Lucy now fuses her creativity with the world of wellbeing – giving birth to “THE ART OF BEING”, which offers holistic wellbeing, Yoga, meditation, spiritual wisdom practices and various methods of energy healing. To book an appointment, class or see what is happening in her world, go to http://www.lucyproud.com.au