What do you think of when someone mentions yoga? People going into strange positions, meditation, relaxation, chanting?? You are correct; however not understanding the idea behind yoga is not all that is beneficial to you. There is a saying “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are” and perhaps this is our own downfall as this distorts the value of yoga.
Many people today feel that there must be ‘something else’ to life; another dimension. People call it many different things: a spiritual sense, universal connection, a higher consciousness, transcendental experience, or that pure presence – God. That indefinable ‘something else’ may have been lost due to decline in religious practice or alternative systems, however, whatever form it takes it is vital to human satisfaction.
Yoga supplies this ‘something else’, once we feel, know and understand it, we can start to identify the full picture. Our current beliefs are just a small part of the picture, and that picture is that ‘something else’ that we want it to become daily.
Yoga affects your whole life and there are many different ways of applying it. It is not supposed to be only for the young and fit. It’s for everyone – children, prenatal, seniors, disabled etc. Also remember most importantly – you can start at any time. It can be used as a form of rehabilitation and has therapeutic effects. Yoga can be used in a practical way of working physically, mentally and spiritually, so that you get in touch with all that is inside, outside and the spaces in between.
Yes yoga is an art because it is practiced and also a science because its claims can be proven.
First of all it teaches you to adopt a correct, moral attitude towards life – in yourself, towards your spirituality (God) and your fellowman. Secondly, to bring the body to its full potential through practice of the asanas (postures), and to have breath control through various breathing techniques. Thirdly, to train the heart for contemplation – a state of prayerful tranquillity and silence, undisturbed by the activity of the senses or the distractions of one’s own wandering thoughts.
Some advantages aside from the obvious include muscles being toned; vital organs being rejuvenated, kept in place and enabled to function correctly. The body is brought to a state of good health where it can cope with disease. A state of tension is transformed into a relaxed attitude to life. The body reaches its full potential because communication is opened up between the brain and body. One also achieves a state of awareness, not confined to the self, but an awareness that eventually reaches out to embrace everyone and everything that comes within one’s orbit.
From now on I do hope that when you get asked, “What do you think of yoga?” you have a better understanding. With that all said, I would like to encourage you to give yoga a try, no one says you have to love it straight away. I offer a first time free group class at my studio in Kensington, Johannesburg (0741 565363). You are welcome to give it a try. Remember all teachers are unique, so if you don’t click with one try another.