Yoga is known to be the ancient science of self-realization, uniting the body with the mind, urging us to look inward to discover who we really are. Growing up with the guidance of our loved ones who had our best interests at heart, to prepare us for acceptable socialization in the world, we were often times handicapped because we were urged to conform to outside opinions of who and what we could or should be, the beginning of our separation from self and obscuring one of our most healing resources, self-knowledge. Hippocrates, the father of Medicine, stated early on, “Know Thyself.” Even with the highest intentions they missed their mark, because the teachings created an imbalance and disavowed the importance of authenticity and autonomy. We learn fear: of failing, of making a mistake, of making a change. Becoming a creature of habits, patterns, and mindsets, we lose the capacity to be independent and strong in thought and action. These are attributes of Yoga, stressing the need for balance to create harmony within.
….Without a doubt, we can conclude that our practice is helpful in daily life as it increases our efficiency and productivity, working or playing, evoking emotional stability. One can also change their personality, making one better equipped to face the stress and strain of modern life. The synergy of balance and harmony between the mind and body makes one fit and healthy and is helpful when dealing with disease, which on closer examination reads dis-ease!
Hatha Yoga and the Asanas are much more than physical; besides exercising the muscles and joints that comprise the infrastructure of the body, they influence the physiological systems by toning the abdominal organs, stimulating the endocrine glands, and soothing the nervous system. Digestions, elimination, and circulation are also benefitted. Respiration and breathing are strengthened by the Pranayama practices and have a positive effect on each and every cell in the body improving the oxygenation of blood, lymph, synovial fluid, and the cerebral-spinal fluid, adding to the effectiveness and efficiency of all the systems. It is complex and should have the supervision and presence of an experienced teacher, on site, to offer the proper guidance to ensure that the efforts made will be fruitful for the practitioner. This applies and extends to our Hatha Yoga practices as well.
…Meditation and Raja Yoga….help to develop peace and tranquility, and the mental abilities of creativity, memory, and concentration, associated with sound brain function….The mind is not confined to the integrity with the borders of the brain and can entertain any truth it chooses for its own purposes. The brain processes and translates the contents of the mind’s belief systems…which can trigger nerve cell firing and chemical releases.
The mind can lead to dangerous places as we all know and can manifest dire results when unbridled.
Here is where meditation comes into the picture, uniting brain and mind to be an empowering and embodying force for the practitioner….My wish for you is to be truly inspired to make greater inroads into the scientific and philosophical body of resources that offers life changing possibilities, increasing and expanding the borders of our being.
*Excerpted from Heitzner, P. Yoga & You for a Year: From the Beginning to the End, pp. 88-90. Amazon KDP. 2020.