An Extraordinary Impression
Yoga is a multifaceted somatic practice of body mind awareness.
As some might imagine, yoga is more than a fitness regiment of stretches and strengthening exercises. Yoga is a 500 century old holistic path of well being and self development that begins with the breathe and tranquility of the body. Yoga is a contemplative practice whereby one attends to the breath and deeper somatic impulses that are embodied during the performance of myriad still postures which are engaged holistically by the heart, mind and spirit, designed to evoke profound experiential awareness and to affect all integral aspects of one's being. As we grow in our practice we learn more about ourselves and the boundless potentiality we personify in relation to the world we live in.
Yoga is a Sanskrit term that stems from the root yuj and literally means to "yoke." Simply put, yoga as a disciplined practice involves the act of "yoking" or harnessing one's physical power to one's spiritual essence or mystical life. Regardless of religious orientation the practice of yoga can be understood as the yoking of body and mind, heart and soul, the forging of a connection or union between one's passion driven ego and one's superior sublimated Self, the bridging of a contact between what is lowest in one's temperament to what is highest in one's most magnanimous nature. In today's global universe yoga can be imagined as a sort of somatic alchemy where transmutation through fire turning lead into gold is a metaphor for the unification process toward spiritual purification and the transformation of practical elements into enlightened being.
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Yoga embodies asanas of awareness.
The essential moving force of yoga is found in the experiential performance of hatha asanas or the methodical practice of ritually performing particular yoga postures for intentional contemplation with the express purpose of opening awareness of our whole physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological being. This opening is a balancing of myriad elements and interrelated energies flowing through the body. It is ultimately an aligning of the energetic body though an integration of myriad interconnected rays or ethereal vortexes of subtle energy that radiate throughout the body spiraling both inwardly and outwardly within myriad circulating channels or vibrational chakras in a holistic network of correlated points, spheres, or nadis.
An early reference to the chakras and system of nadis stimulated through yoga is described in the Chandogya Upanishad. "A hundred and one are the arteries of the heart, one of them leads up to the crown of the head. Going upward through that, one becomes immortal."
Nadis do not literally refer to arterial flow nor correspond to nerve impulses but rather energetic channels guiding the movement of consciousness; encompassing instinctive and visceral, perceptual and intuitive elements of awareness. Literally, nadi means "flow." Analogous to an intricate web of electricity where positive and negative ions run through intelligently designed networks, vital life force (prana shako) and mental energy (manas shako) traverse our bodies and enliven our consciousnesses through these myriad intelligently interwoven channels or nadis. According to Tantra we embody a matrix of over 72,000 nadis through which energetic impulses and ephemeral stimuli flow from one point to another much like a current of electricity.
Yoga reduces stress offering deeper sensations of relaxation and rejuvenation.
This vital, enlivening process of performing yoga asanas is a sort of opening or release, facilitating an energizing and invigorating sense of rejuvenation that enhances the flow of prana or life force throughout the many layers of our physical body and ethereal being. Guided by mindfulness and breath awareness, the enhanced flow of prana creates vibrations initiating healing changes on all levels of our awareness, not just physically but emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually as well. Most students and practitioners of yoga feel the effects of their asana practice right from their very first week of focused engagement.
For the more experienced yogi awakening is a profound process that affects psychic and spiritual layers of one's whole self. Intentional meditation calms the mind and stimulates awareness which is embodied and manifested throughout the entire experiential being. As seasoned practitioners we are able to process a deeper knowing of our innate natures and our inherent relation to the world. Through pranayama (yoga breathing) we remember that the simple power of our breath to facilitate a sense of wholeness is amazing. The recurring breath cycling in and out of our bodies is an integral link yoking body, mind, heart, and soul. As facilitators of experiential awareness it is important to acknowledge the essence of the breath in relation to the yoga asana and to integrate focused breathing during every practice session. Mindful breathing in yoga is the essence between realizing an integrated holistic unity of body and soul awareness or simply moving and stretching the external limbs of our physical presence.
Yoga is personal and universal.
Yoga as with any somatic practice is both personal, manifesting within the individual, and universal with established codifications and parameters of awareness evolving toward everyone. Experienced practitioners and new students of yoga need to be challenged within themselves as unique individuals. On a personal level most importantly we need to listen to what our bodies are telling us in every moment of our daily moment to moment yoga practice. It is wise to remember that all yoga asanas should be engaged at a point of personal comfort. Forcing or striving too hard in yoga may yield the opposite effect incurring unwanted tension and even possible injury.
Daily yoga practice should always be approached humbly as it is spontaneously cultivated. It is a serendipitous creation awakening awareness, focusing attention and honing meditation of inner guidance toward right action. We embrace this with a sense of wonder encouraging what may awe and inspire us, humbly honoring a beginner's mind, opening our curiosity toward what can be embraced by our purest, clearest, brightest conscious selves.
Unconditional acceptance leads to enlightenment.
Of utmost importance in yoga is an intention to acknowledge and accept our whole selves and wherever it is we are at, in the moment. We should seek to embody a present centered awareness during our yoga meditations attending to the lived experience of our whole bodies whether engaging in still yoga postures or gesturing through dynamic transitional movements. A focus in the now is sought through concentration opening up to both the universal structural codifications and the personal spontaneous elements of our daily moment to moment yoga experience.
Breathe deeply and inspire the best in life.
Practice and perceive. Engage and embody. Listen and Learn. Nurture your freedom through mindful disciple and embrace your joy through authentic empowerment. With a little grace you will forever bathe, appreciate and revel in your yoga practice!
May we always study with passion and patience. May we always share the lessons we learn. May inspiration always come, moving in from and out of our most loving and wise hearts!
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Posted in Fitness Post Date 12/02/2017