As a spiritual discipline, yoga is different from other forms of exercise. It is in its simplicity and balance that makes it so attractive to the Western mind. It does not require elaborate movements or strenuous breathing techniques. Yoga, as a spiritual discipline, is all about stability and the natural flow of energy through the body.
Every day is a mystery. Even at this moment in time, each of us is unaware of our place in the world. What is the purpose of my body? Why do I feel this way? What was my life before I found myself here?
To find this place, you need to integrate yoga exercises into your daily routine. When you focus on these questions, you begin to see them in their proper context. As you master your body, your life changes.
Now, every time I say “yoga”, I am referring to a specific type of practice, and it may be a yoga teacher who performs the poses for me. For those of you who are not yoga instructors, the practices that you need are more like a series of postures. In yoga, the full range of poses is referred to as Asana or Vinyasa.
In order to fully understand what yoga means to you, you must keep practicing it. As you practice asana, you will realize the meaning behind the poses. You’ll learn that yoga works on your mind and body, both of which are connected, and each one has its own effect on the other.
As you practice your various postures, you will be asked to learn a meditative sequence. Meditation is a process that is performed to bring your mind and body back to a state of awareness.
The first technique of meditation is known as Samatha. You can use this technique to silence your mind for a while, as you sit down and contemplate the nature of the universe. Meditation involves focusing on something else; in order to accomplish that you need to silence your mind.
The second technique of meditation is known as Nirodha. It also involves quieting your mind for a while, but in this case, you will actually focus on the breath, which is needed to work on your breathing technique.
The third technique is known as Bhavana, which is also known as “deep breath”. You will need to take a long, slow, deep breath in order to achieve the needed state of consciousness.
Lastly, there is Bikram yoga. This is where you tie your ankles together and place your hands on your thighs. Your legs are up in the air and your muscles in a complete stress position.
Each technique requires a certain amount of practice, but the basics are easy to learn. The more advanced yoga exercises are difficult to master at first, but once you do, you will be surprised by how quickly your body is working towards the fitness of your spirit.