Finding your meaning in yoga

“Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.” – B.K.S. Iyenger

 Yoga is the art and science of self-realization, self-care and self-development. The word “yoga” in Sanskrit, to put it simply, means union. Hence, the practice of yoga is the practice to unite our mind, body and spirit. Over the years, many researchers have done studies on yoga and meditation, and have presented the benefits of yoga. To be fair, everything has its good and bad sides including yoga. When taken to the extreme, or when not practised properly, yoga can result in injuries – but so can any other sport.

 But when practised mindfully, yoga is much deeper than the stretching or gravity-defying poses that we sometimes see people do. Yoga is the ultimate act of self-study, which allows you to take a daily dive deep into yourself, then return refreshed and ready for the challenges ahead. In yoga, you wrangle your mind to serve you purposefully – without which, our minds are actually capable of many negative and destructive thoughts. Our thoughts eventually result in our actions – so with a mind that is out of balance, our life can spiral out of control.

 Yoga poses have been designed and refined to serve the needs of the body and the mind. Yoga works when we stay at ease in our bodies and follow our breath. It does not work by pushing or forcing poses to happen. Expand your idea of yoga look beyond the poses – beyond the downward dogs and even the deep breathing, and feeling great – although yoga is also about all of these.

 Yoga teaches us to be easy in our own skin. We learn how to use our bodies effectively, while washing off the daily stressors of life before they accumulate in us and do their damage. We learn to relax and focus (or sometimes refocus) our minds so that we can concentrate on our tasks at hand, and relax fully when we would like to. Less stress generally means better choices and the happier you are – and also the less you need to seek comfort in the “wrong” places.

 Simply, yoga cures – be it the mind, body and soul. But practice is the key. Yoga is like water – you cannot experience water until you drink it. After all that has been said and done about yoga – forget what the researchers said. Don’t even take my word for it. Find your own meaning in yoga, try it for yourself to believe it. 🙂

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Janelle Lim (200hr TTC, Jan/Feb 2014 Weekday)