We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Yoga is a sanskrit word meaning union. It is the union of the body, mind and spirit. To me, it solves that existential angst of “who am I”. It is my belief that through yoga, we find ourselves and become able to answer the question “what is my purpose in life”.
When most of us think of yoga, we think of an asana practice. This is just one of Pantanjali’s “Eight Limbs of Yoga”, but it’s a good place to start to think about union.
Asanas build flexibility, balance and strength in the body and the mind. It’s easy to understand how that is accomplished in the body, but what about the mind? What about developing a yoga practice builds flexibility, balance and strength in the mind? My yoga teacher, Claire Diab taught me to ask myself what my body needs at the start of my daily yoga practice. I have a personal yoga practice following my morning Primordial Sound Meditation. This asking teaches my mind flexibility. I have to be willing to do things differently on a daily basis dependent on how it feels in this 51 year old body. It strengthens my mind because of the commitment and discipline it takes to cultivate a regular practice. It helps me get beyond my emotional response “I don’t feel like it” to remembering my commitment to my practice. This flexibility and strength creates balance in my mind. My thoughts are focused on what are helpful and loving choices rather than self defeating ones. All this came from wanting to touch my toes!
How remarkable the gift that comes from a regular asana practice. For if we have flexibility, balance and strength in our thoughts, all things are possible.