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Yoga is a tool, a method, a practice and for some, a way of life. It is a physical expression and a mental exercise that is challenging and deeply rewarding. It’s a time to connect to the present moment, listen to the body’s needs and cultivate a deeper connection to the breath and to our authentic self. Yoga not
only allows us to explore different physical postures to gain strength, flexibility and to release physical limitation, but is also a powerful means for emotional and spiritual growth. By learning to focus our attention and breath, yoga can help strengthen our ability to discern between the trappings of the mind, the illusion, and become more centered in the truth of who we are.
From there we can create new, healthy patterns and begin to approach life from a more balanced perspective as well as experience the physical benefits of a healthier body. In essence yoga is a powerful tool for healing and transformation that goes far beyond the mat and is deeply beneficial for the expansion of consciousness. Although yoga was derived from India thousands of years ago it has become very popular in western culture today. Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, renowned spiritual leader has said “Yoga is India’s gift to the world”. The growing number of people practicing yoga, I believe, is a testament to that truth. There are many different styles and methods of yoga that consist of a series of postures, controlled breathing and meditation. It is continually evolving, however, it’s roots are based in the concept of establishing harmony within the body, mind and spirit and to live in a peaceful way, connected in wholeness.
Through what is considered an 8 step process, also called the 8 limbs of yoga as written in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, approximately 200 AD. This is a process that consists of action, discipline and devotion;
• Yama : Universal morality
• Niyama : Personal observances
• Asanas : Body postures
• Pranayama : Breathing exercises, and control of prana
• Pratyahara : Control of the senses
• Dharana : Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
• Dhyana : Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
• Samadhi : Union with the Divine
Although there is a philosophy associated with yoga, it is not a religion and there is no dogma. It is an individual process and the personal benefits are a direct result of our intentions and efforts towards the practice.
For me personally yoga is a retreat from the incessant chatter, judgment and self-criticism. It’s a way to transcend through fear, ground into a deeper perspective and align with my Truth. It continually challenges me to confront myself in the ways that I need to while also teaching me to be compassionate to myself and to my process. The physical aspect of yoga, to me, is a beautiful art that I
deeply enjoy and practice daily. However, it is the still moments of complete presence that have been most profound for me, that keeps me forever devoted.