The Light of Yoga
Everything in our life may not change at first, but as we transform, becoming more peaceful, patient, happy, more courageous and joyful, everything around us will start to take on a new light.
The word yoga, from the sanskrit root yuj, is often defined as ‘union’. Union or fusion of one’s limited understanding of self and of life - i.e. of one’s own persona or ego with something more universal, free, boundless. Thus promising freedom from the limited self through a larger experience of our lives. Freedom from our emotions, mind, energy, relationships, work, leisure etc. A different picture than what we commonly live with, which is mostly a limiting, even debilitating case of - me, myself and mine.
Of course we all experience moments of joy and happiness, but always subject to external happenings. There’s always an external cause. But sages tell us time and again: joy is causeless and boundless, dependant on none and on nothing. The separation one feels from all that surrounds one is the cause of all suffering and leaves one overwhelmed; and we are never taught to address it. Instead, when we are left feeling alienated and isolated, the only thing that occurs to us is to protect ourselves, which we do the only way we know: through the building of even more walls around ourselves, thus perpetuating the cycle. Through early observation and natural tendencies; inherited and acquired, called samskaras, we become experts at keeping the world away from our doorstep, from our heart. This does irreparable damage to not only the psyche, but also body and mind. The process of yoga is an invitation to systematically do away with these limiting samskaras and to open oneself to the vast potential within.
It is important that this be done in a systematic way; haphazard ways give little or even equivocal results. Starting with bodywork or asanas is recommended as it is the most elemental and immediate point of depart. When the physical systems are out of balance all internal harmony between organs, muscles and nerves is slowly lost. So the first step in yoga would be to attain perfect synchronisation of different physical functions, thus attaining optimum health. The next stages are the health of the mind and of the emotions. Slowly, through different yogic practices, like asana, pranayama, mudra, bandha, meditation, etc. We become conscious of the interrelation between our physical, mental, energetic and emotional systems. With time we can clearly see how changes in any one of them, have a direct and definite influence in all the others. For example, any changes in our diet, sleep pattern, thoughts, emotions, speech etc. are all co-dependant. Through various techniques, the science of yoga addresses all aspects of our being, gently balancing our inner and our external lives. Everything in our life may not change at first, but as we transform, becoming more peaceful, patient, happy, more courageous and joyful, everything around us will start to take on a new light.