YOGA – What happens to you when you read or hear this word. Does the vision of you sitting on a hilltop, watching a beautiful sunset come to your mind; do you think of the time you enjoyed a really nice, hot and crisp pizza; when you spent time with your loved ones?! Not really?!!! The moment you hear the word yoga, the image of a very fit person comes to your mind, doing a difficult Asana(Body posture) with a chiselled face, toned arms and washboard abs. This is what most of us know of Yoga as, doing difficult body postures or a way to get a fit and healthy body. Yoga is much more than that.
Yogah Chitta Vritti Nirodha
Maharishi Patanjali says, Yoga is to restrain the modulations of the mind. The tendency of the mind is to vacillate between the past and the future. It either regrets over the happenings of the past or it is anticipating the future. This constant vacillating causes stress; we start accumulating negativity, regret, anxiety, frustration. It takes us away from our true nature, like how we were born, happy and cheerful. The words angry, depressed or frustrated are never associated with a baby. A baby smiles 400 times a day but an adult smiles hardly 4 times a day. Yoga is to go back to the childlike state of being happy and cheerful. One can see the depth of the lake only when the ripples on the surface are removed. The same way, once the modulations of the mind are restrained, we let go off the stress, we are connected to who we are.
The Patanjali Yoga Sutras say, there are Eight limbs of Yoga – Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharna, Dhyan, Samadhi. Asanas are only 1 limb out of these 8 limbs, the last being Samadhi (State of equanimity).
Asanas, Pranayamas etc. are to prepare one to get into a meditative state; to reach the state where duality, the conflict ends, where the mind is in a state of equanimity.
Like how one bakes a yummy chocolate cake to be able to consume it. The process of getting the ingredients together in the right proportion, placing it in the oven, enjoying the fragrance as an olfactory celebration, admiring how beautiful the cake has turned out to be are all preparatory phases. They are pivotal, however,
the ultimate highest experience is when you gobble that biggg piece of cake and the chocolate on top melts in the mouth. That moment all the preparation that has gone into it holds little to no attention, it is only the experience of enjoying that yummy cake in the moment.
Of course, the importance of doing asanas can not be condoned. Practice of Asanas help one to have a healthy and fit body, preparing it for a higher experience. Regular practice of asanas is known to have helped people with chronic back pain, more regulated blood pressure and other ailments.But when Asanas are well coordinated with the breath, it enhances the whole experience of meditation.
In the world wherein Yoga is becoming more synonymous with just doing difficult postures, Sri Sri School of Yoga upholds the tradition by teaching Yoga in its purest form. For more information, visit www.srisrischoolofyoga.org.