In spite of our many efforts to live a healthy life, in reality, our modern day lifestyle brings on a lot of stress. Let’s take a moment to observe our structured daily routine. We wake up, do the morning chores, go to work, come home late, eat, sleep, and repeat. If there’s still some time left, we give it up to our devices. Despite having everything we could want – a cosy lifestyle, hi-tech gadgets and much more, we continue to suffer. We suffer from stress, hypertension, obesity, cardiac diseases, and several other problems for that matter because we have lost the ability to balance our lifestyle and simply be with our own selves. When do we spare some time for ourselves? Here’s when Yoga comes into the picture.
The ancient yogic practices work well as modern medicine for problematic beings like us. The literal meaning of Yoga is “Union”. It is the amalgamation of the physical, mental, and spiritual bodies that work together and impart sustained benefits which balance our overall being. Yoga, in its true form, is self-realization of connectedness, unity, togetherness, and above all, the Divine Oneness.
Nourishment for the body, mind and soul
The discipline of Yoga can help nourish and purify our body, mind and soul and ultimately expand our consciousness to experience the source of all existence. This International Day of Yoga, let’s learn the basic, yet prominent aspects of yoga and examine whether our efforts are leading us to the desired state.
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Yoga of the body
Notice the position you’re sitting in right now whether in a chair or on the bed. Either way, you are probably slouching which, although comfortable right now, is not the best posture for the body. It creates physical tension. Do you stretch constantly? Do you provide traction to your body? Do you do backward bends? Do you twist your body in a way that you don’t get jerks? Most probably not. Unless we are lying down to take rest or sleep, our bodies are mostly bent forward. This causes disharmony in the body.
This physical distortion creates problems for the internal organs and their functioning. To remedy this, the physical aspect of Yoga offers asanas or postures. Asanas are body movements done in a controlled manner along with coordinated breathing. Yoga postures make us stretch our body with complete awareness.
One of the other aspects of physical wellness is the flow of energy which helps us regulate our thoughts. It’s important to repel negative thoughts so that we attract positivity. Our energies synchronize with our thoughts that we give attention to. So, if you’re tired, do not say you’re tired; instead, go get an energy drink to boost you up, and maybe also do some stretches.
Yoga on the mind
The mental aspect of yoga is possibly the most important as Yoga is ultimately knowing, understanding, and realizing the mind. Apart from physical stress, we deal with emotional stress, which is can be much more damaging than the former. Inhibitions, complexes, insecurities, etc., are a big part of emotional stress. It requires relaxation and concentration to deal with these issues and many others. The Heartfulness relaxation technique is one of the easiest methods to relax our bodies and reclaim a balanced state.
To get control over the mind, it’s important to relax the thoughts. Let’s take the example of sleep which is a form of relaxation. In Yoga, relaxation is achieved when we disassociate our thoughts, emotions, feelings, and expressions. At night, we should go to sleep unburdened by thoughts – we should not take our stress, anxiety, tension, or any other pain with ourselves. Let them rest on the bedside table with our spectacles and our glass of water. This helps in keeping our thoughts at rest and we become more aware of our mind.
Before you go off to sleep, become aware of the thoughts that are affecting you. You may experience physical stress, be troubled by any undergoing tension at work, any conflicts in the family, or any emotional baggage that you’re shouldering. While you prepare yourself for sleep, close your eyes for a few minutes and recite a heartful prayer. This process awakens your inner mind; makes you watch and observe it and you are more likely to have a peaceful sleep.
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The mental aspect of Yoga thus makes us concentrate on dissipated energies. This concentration brings self-confidence, a new perspective of life, and a balanced state of being.
Yoga for the soul
The third form of energy not yet experienced by many of us is the spiritual aspect of Yoga which enables us to feel the driving force within us. It is that energy that makes us feel, think, perceive, and react. Here, in the spiritual context, we harmonize our outer life with our inner condition through meditation. This is a journey which makes us connect with the Divine energy present within us all.
Yoga and meditation go hand in hand. As integral to Yoga as the postures, meditation shows us how to tame our thoughts so that all our energy and focus are built around the task at hand. No matter what the circumstances are, meditation lets us stay centred and makes us deal with them with peace, clarity, and calm, leaving all the impressions aside and cherishing the Source within.
Pause and Connect
Take a pause and absorb the Divine oneness that the practice of Yoga can bring you. Much of our daily life is about fulfilling the demands of family and work. If we don’t pause and connect to our inner being with Yoga and meditation, we’ll face several health-related, emotional, and mental problems.
The COVID pandemic has brought about much chaos and suffering, so, let’s combat it with connectedness. Heartfulness is organizing a virtual mega celebration, Compassion Contagious, on Sunday, 21 June 2020, on the occasion of International Yoga Day. Tune in to experience all three aspects of Yoga with the Heartfulness guide, Daaji conducting a global meditation session for beginners and long-term practitioners; renowned yogi Baba Ramdev inspiring us all with the ancient Yoga postures and techniques; and the famed musicians and vocalists Shankar Mahadevan and Pandit Jasraj adding to the magical ambiance with their soulful rendering to relax the mind.
Mark your calendars make compassion contagious this International Yoga Day!